How Military Members Should Deal With Fitness and Health as They Age

Your military service may be the fittest time of your life, but it’s no secret that after years in a physically demanding job, the aches and pains of athletic life before the military and injuries during the military can start to add up. For some, those aches and pains may hit in the late 20s and early 30s. Others might not experience the typical pains of a life well lived until their 40s and 50s.

No matter when the wear and tear of military service catches up with you, there are countless ways to turn this process around. The common denominator is: don’t stop moving.

Several veterans ranging in VA disability ratings from 50 to 100% I spoke with recently said staying active and working hard to not gain weight are both key to reducing the effect of old injuries. How we got to this point follows a somewhat standard path – and now what it looks like might help you mitigate it for yourself.

Teen Years. Many worked hard to gain weight, put on muscle for sports, and could not eat enough food to gain weight. Many athletes or fitness buffs in their teens learn how to eat to gain weight, while others work to drop it quickly for sports like wrestling. Depending on where you were on that spectrum, you likely took those good and bad eating habits into your 20 to 30s.

Late Teens and Early 20s. As we finished growing, many learned that they were no longer a “hard gainer” and could put on both muscle and fat with relative ease. Many put on weight without even trying. And while some were able to outwork their diets, for many that subtle gain of five pounds a year turned into 50 lbs. overweight by the end of the decade. Meanwhile, depending on military job, aches and pains from running, rucking, equipment carry and other high repetition exercises started to show themselves.

Twenties into 30s. Now we’re at the decade where many started to experience job related injuries and surgeries layered on the stresses of the job, life, family and deployments. Add in combat deployments and traumatic injuries and you have an entirely new level of recovery to deal with when you come back home. That is also when the previous injuries from early life athletics, job related tasks and injuries or stress, combined with eating habits of previous decades, add to the loss of the ability to recover quickly from training, injuries and illnesses. Outworking a bad diet suddenly was near impossible.

Thirties into 40s — Many have either made the decision to leave the military by now or decided to put in 20-plus years. Regardless of your decision to continue serving or not, you cannot escape the age and athletic history. Learning new skills and following new rules at this point is absolutely required to live normally. Some of these new rules are:

  • You cannot outwork your diet. You need to eat better and usually
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Texas governor requests use of El Paso-area military hospital for non-COVID-19 patients as cases surge

Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Saturday requested to use a medical center at Fort Bliss for non-COVID-19 patients as coronavirus cases surge in the El Paso area. The request comes as COVID-19 cases have been increasing throughout Texas and the country.

Abbott said Saturday that he had spoken to Dr. Robert Kadiec, assistant secretary for preparedness and response at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to request use of William Beaumont Army Medical Center to free up beds at the region’s hospitals, according to CBS El Paso affiliate KDBC.

El Paso officials said 1,216 new COVID-19 cases were reported on Saturday, for a total of 10,911 active cases and 38,554 cumulative cases.

El Paso officials said Saturday one person died, a woman in her 40s with underlying health conditions. There have been 572 deaths in El Paso due to COVID-19 since the pandemic began. 

As of Saturday, there were 715 people hospitalized in El Paso County due to COVID-19, including 199 in intensive care and 85 on ventilators.

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Cars line up for Covid-19 tests at the University of Texas El Paso on October 23, 2020 in El Paso, Texas. 

Photo by Paul Ratje / AFP) (Photo by PAUL RATJE/AFP via Getty Images


Abbott announced earlier this week that he would be sending more than 450 medical personnel to the El Paso area. He also said he will be sending extra equipment including ambulances, patient monitors, patient beds and oxygen concentrators.

“The medical personnel and supplies we are deploying to El Paso build upon the resources the state previously sent to the community and will provide much needed support to area hospitals and first responders,” Abbott said in a statement. “The State of Texas will continue to work with local officials to protect public health and help the El Paso community mitigate the spread of COVID-19.”  

A report by UT-Austin released Thursday said “the El Paso region has the most threatening projections, with an estimated 85% probability that COVID-19 cases will exceed local hospital capacity by November 8th, 2020.”

According to the same report, five other regions have a more than 25% chance of hospitals being overwhelmed with in 3 weeks: Amarillo (28%), Lubbock (29%), Wichita Falls (30%), San Angelo (29%) and Galveston (33%).

The Texas Department of Public Health reported Saturday more than 89,000 active cases of COVID-19 in the state, including more than 6,000 new cases. 

Coronavirus cases nationwide have been rising, with more cases reported on Friday than any other single day since the pandemic began. 

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San Antonio mayor to discuss Space Force, military medicine in Pentagon visit

Mayor Ron Nurenberg will spend Thursday in Washington talking with top Pentagon officials about bolstering the military’s many medical assets here, as well as the city’s hope to serve as the new home of U.S. Space Command.



Ron Nirenberg et al. standing next to a man in a suit and tie: Mayor-elect Ron Nirenberg attends the basic military training graduation of 526 airmen at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in 2017.


© Bob Owen /San Antonio Express-News

Mayor-elect Ron Nirenberg attends the basic military training graduation of 526 airmen at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in 2017.


He’ll meet with the Air Force’s chief of staff, Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., as well as Gen. John “Jay” Raymond, U.S. Space Force’s chief of space operations, and the head of the Defense Health Agency, Lt. Gen. Ronald J. Place.

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The goal: Convince those leaders that San Antonio, “Military City, U.S.A.,” is ready to host Space Command, support other new Air Force operations here and help expand military medicine missions.

“I wanted them to know San Antonio is going to show up, even when the world’s on pause,” Nirenberg said, referring to the coronavirus pandemic.

Unlike the annual SA to DC lobbying trip to Washington, this one will be a small affair, with Nirenberg bringing only two others with him. Nirenberg called this trip a “precision exercise.”

“If SA to DC is sending in the cavalry, this trip is the air strike,” he said.

In setting up the meetings, Pentagon officials asked that the mayor keep the group to just three people because they were to meet with major decision-makers. The others with him retired Marine Maj. Gen. Juan Ayala, director of the city’s Office of Military and Veteran Affairs, and Jenna Saucedo-Herrera, president/CEO of the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation.

The big-ticket items on the agenda include Space Command and the Defense Health Agency, but there will be other stops. Nirenberg will talk with the undersecretary of the Army, and the Department of Defense’s office for Homeland Defense Integration and Defense Support to Civil Authorities.

The mayor’s office said Nirenberg will have specific “asks” or points of information for ongoing or future initiatives from the city or local military community that add value to Joint Base San Antonio, the largest joint base in the Department of Defense. The trip will encourage senior Pentagon leaders to consider keeping San Antonio at the top of their list to either relocate missions or activate new ones.

San Antonio made it through the initial cut as the Air Force seeks a permanent headquarters for the Space Command, now based in Colorado Springs, Colo. Governors from 26 states nominated 100 cities to be the command’s new home.

It was established as the 11th combat command in August 2019 and the Air Force is now in the evaluation phase of a selection process that aims to pick finalists in mid-to late-November. A decision is expected in January, and the new headquarters will take about six years to put in place.

Nirenberg has said San Antonio is a natural fit for Space Command because of its quality of life, a

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Watch Gymnasts Try Challenges From U.S. and British Military Fitness Tests

British Olympic gymnast Nile Wilson is taking a challenge that YouTubers and athletes alike love to try: military physical fitness tests. There’s an entire genre of fit guys testing their mettle with the physical trials members of the forces must pass—from British bodybuilder Obi Vincent trying the Marine Corps Fitness Test, MattDoesFitness attempting the U.S. Air Force’s Physical Fitness Test, and Olympic runners Nick Symmonds and Ryan Hall taking on the Marine Corps Fitness Test.



a man jumping in the air: British Olympic gymnast Nile Wilson tries out moves from military fitness tests in a gymnasium, including pullups, situps, pushups, and an assault course.


© Nile Wilson – YouTube
British Olympic gymnast Nile Wilson tries out moves from military fitness tests in a gymnasium, including pullups, situps, pushups, and an assault course.



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But Wilson isn’t interested in one specific military outfit’s protocol. For his challenge, Wilson plans to take on a custom challenge comprised of pullups, pushups and situps, all common events in the genre. To fit the theme, Wilson and his friends don faux-camouflage fatigues and wear dog tags (the face paint they apply might just be a step to far).

Wilson sets out a goal number of reps for each exercise:

Chinups: 23

Situps: 70

Pushups: 40

“We’ll see how far we can push the boundaries today,” says Wilson.

Wilson gets to his chinups, and he knocks out 25 reps without dropping.

Next up is situps, which he plans to do for 2 minutes. But he comes up short with only 66.

“Ahhhhh!” he says as he struggles through his last reps. “We’re putting ourselves through hell and high water.”

Finally, he hits the pushups, which will be until he fatigues.

“I’ll be really happy with 87,” he says.

He grabs a yoga block to put under his chest to tap for each rep. He gets to it, and he manages to get to 61 pushups before collapsing. He’s not close to his goal, but it’s a solid effort nonetheless.

In place of the 1.5 mile run standard with military fitness tests, Wilson decides to do an assault course in the gymnasium instead. The challenge uses the gymnastics rings, crawling underneath gym mats, scaling a wall, flips on a trampoline, walking across balance beams, and uneven bars. He completes it in 1:25. That might be more like a military obstacle course than a fitness test—but we’ll give him credit for the effort.

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