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The Value of Military Service and How It Applies to Everyone

Reviewed by: Dr. Steven Knauf, D.C.

By Genevieve Cunningham

The Value of Military Service

Aim High … Fly-Fight-Win. Semper Fi. This We’ll Defend. If you’re familiar with any of these sayings, you’re probably connected to one of the most honorable and respected life paths out there -- the military.

Whether you’ve experienced military service yourself or you’re supporting a loved one, you’re probably all too familiar with the stress and sacrifice that comes with it. Military members give so much of themselves to their country. Time, energy, relationships. When you join the service, these all take a backseat.

But the military isn’t all sacrifice and no reward. There are perks to serving -- things like the G.I. Bill, health care for themselves and their families, and low cost group life insurance. Military benefits can be really good whether you’re a full-time member or a part of the National Guard. And of course, there’s the physical fitness perk.

Life in the military requires solid fitness. It requires strength and endurance and determination. Do you have what it takes to join? And if that’s not your thing, could military members serve as pillars of society? Could we strive to sacrifice and grow and endure just like our most loved service members?

As Americans celebrate Veterans Day every Nov. 11, let’s take an appreciative look at the value of service to the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and Space Force, and how it can apply to everyone.

How Much Physical Stress is There in the Military?

The military is not easy. No matter which branch you choose to join, the physical demands are part of the gig. Upon entry, and especially upon training, each person must complete a series of tasks to test their physical fitness and readiness. The more extensive the job -- think Army Ranger, Navy Seal, etc. -- the tougher the fitness requirements.

Although the tasks vary between branches of the military, there are some staple exercises that you can expect to be included.

  • Push-ups
  • Sit-ups
  • Pull-ups
  • Running
  • Swimming

After the initial physical test required upon joining, each person is tested on a regular basis. In the Navy, it’s twice per year. In the Air Force, it’s once per year. You’re expected to meet a minimum score at every test, which means maintaining good fitness throughout the year. Even when a service member enters the military with less than stellar fitness, they’ll be expected to pick up the pace during basic training.

Can this be physically stressful? Of course it can, but it can also be incredibly beneficial. Requiring each service member to stay in good physical condition may actually improve their health and wellness long-term -- and perhaps even promote better wellness as a society and nation. It also helps prevent injury and makes our armed forces stronger as a whole.

Can You Compare a Military Veteran to an Athlete?

We don’t often compare military members to athletes, but they have more in common than most people realize. Both athletes and military members need to be physically sound. They need to have endurance and strength to meet the physical demands of the job. They also have to be mentally tough. Both jobs are taxing, and they require focus and attention to detail. Both athletes and service members are put in stressful situations, though most can agree that situations in the military are much more serious.

Of course, service members and athletes are also different. For an athlete, physical fitness is life. They must maintain their muscle strength, quickness, and flexibility in order to remain relevant and competitive. Although service members also have to be physically fit, it’s likely that they’ll be learning other skills as well -- be it the use of weapons, language, or technology. Military personnel also have the upper hand when it comes to necessity. At the end of the day, we can live without athletes, but living without military protection wouldn’t be ideal.

To compare a service member to an athlete is not a bad comparison at all. An athlete intends to win a game; a service member intends to win a battle or control a situation. An athlete intends to work hard for their team; a service member intends to work hard for their country, the United States. Both an athlete and a service member are stellar examples of physical fitness and persistence.

Are the Physical Elements of Military Service a Good Model for Civilian Life?

When most people think of a service member, they think of someone young and fit. They think of buzz cut hair and big muscles and impeccable posture. Do all service members look like this? Of course not. But physical fitness is measured by so much more than appearances.

Because of the rigorous nature of training, service men and women are usually in better condition than the ordinary civilian. Rates of obesity, though climbing in the general population, are lower in the military. Studies suggest that active duty soldiers have both better health, and more importantly, healthier habits. So what healthy tips can we take from the soldier's life to apply to the general population?

  • Get up early - Active-duty members are required to get up early . Research has proven time and again that this habit is beneficial.
  • Get regular exercise - Service members must be able to perform the physical aspects of the job. This means regular exercise and ongoing strength training.
  • Get comfortable with challenges - Service members are continually challenged, both mentally and physically. To grow and develop, we have to get comfortable with it.
  • Practice self-discipline - This is something the military teaches in spades. Ultimately, you are responsible for you.
  • Develop routines - Routines make everything in life easier. If you’re not using routines, start developing them now.

How Can a Soldier Benefit From Chiropractic Care?

Another important health tip we can all learn from military members is the importance of self-care. Military members in today’s world are encouraged to take care of their physical, mental, and emotional needs. In the physical aspect, this means taking care of the smaller habits -- like those mentioned above -- or it could mean receiving ongoing care from a qualified professional. For service members, chiropractic care is a great idea. Why?

  • Military training is hard - The training and ongoing physical aspects of the job can be hard on the body, leading to chronic pain and discomfort. Chiropractic care may help keep the body in better physical condition to withstand the pressure.
  • Chiropractic care helps avoid injury - Injuries happen in the military. Reports suggest that as many as 60 percent of women and 27 percent of men are injured at some point during basic training. Chiropractic care may help avoid these kinds of injuries, or it may help with the healing of the body afterward.
  • Chiropractic care is a life-long practice - Military service isn’t forever, but you’ll definitely need care forever. Chiropractic care is gentle and effective enough to be efficient in every stage of life, including long after service has ended. And if you go to the right place, like The Joint Chiropractic, you can enjoy a military discount as a show of gratitude for your service.

Is chiropractic care a habit that civilians should imitate? It can definitely be helpful. In fact, most of the habits and characteristics of service members would be beneficial for the general population. Physical fitness, sacrifice, honor, self-care -- these are the traits of our most beloved military members. And these are the traits that make a beautiful example of how to live life -- and how to be all we can be -- in the Army or in the America they so diligently protect.

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