Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital
Meet Johnathan Neil, a 65 year old retired Army Sergeant Major and Vietnam Veteran. After 32 years of challenging his soldiers to stay physically fit, he did not believe he would let himself get out of shape. Imagine his shock when his VA doctor said he was “technically obese” in October 2012. Johnathan says, "that was a wake-up call."
Johnathan agreed to attend the VA MOVE program and to again become physically fit. He and his wife set weekly activity goals for walking and light weight workouts. They started slowly, and then began to increase the intensity and time spent on the activities. They now walk five days a week, often for more than an hour. They do light weight workouts three to four times a week, using inexpensive dumbbells bought at garage sales. Johnathan lost more than 20 pounds. He has more energy, feels better, has less pain, and his clothes fit again. He has even inspired neighbors and friends to get more active and lose weight!
Johnathan’s advice to Veterans is to believe you can be more physically active, no matter how out of shape you feel. Johnathan has arthritis and old Army injuries that sometimes cause pain, but says, "even if you have disabilities or pain, think of what you can do and start there." He adds, "Be realistic, don’t expect to be like you were when you were young. Take it one step at a time, because a little goes a long way." Johnathan stays motivated by making physical activity a part of his daily routine and enjoying the benefits of being physically active. It also helps to have a workout buddy like his wife and friends. Finally, he encourages Veterans to believe they can make physical activity a part of a healthy lifestyle.
Veterans who are interested in becoming more physically active are encouraged to discuss their options with their primary care provider. For more information on getting physically active, go to:
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