Exercise

Would you like to be more physically active?

Physical activity will improve your mood, concentration, alertness and, of course, your health and wellbeing.

Exercise can be going for a walk, training at a gym or playing a team sport. What you do isn't as important as getting started because when you start, you start feeling better. That's because exercise releases 'feel good' hormones called endorphins. Endorphins reduce stress and increase positive emotions.

By being physically active you will also:

  • Increase optimism and self-esteem
  • Develop better mental wellbeing and social connections
  • Reduce your chances of chronic disease
  • Increase your energy and productivity, and
  • Build stronger bones, muscles and joints.

First steps

The first step to a healthier you is taking a first step.

Even 'incidental' exercise can make a difference. Incidental exercise can be as easy as parking a little further from the supermarket or getting off the bus a stop earlier.

A regular walk will improve your general health and wellbeing, and can be the start of your fitness journey.

If you haven’t been active for a while (or have existing conditions), check with your GP before you start an activity program, or to have a program designed to suit your physical capacity.

Self help

If you haven't exercised for a while, start with smaller, less strenuous activities that are relatively easy to do. Once you’re in the habit of being active you can try some more challenging activities. 

If you’re having trouble getting motivated, the Physical Activities tool on the Veteran's Affairs website can help. The Physical Activities tool is also available on the High Res app to use on the go. It has a range of physical activities you can try, and tips for getting started and staying active.

How exercise helped Brian deal with PTSD

After two decades in Reserves and full-time Army service, including tours of East Timor and Banda Aceh, PTSD hit Brian like a tonne of bricks.

One day, I went to work, made myself a cup of tea and then just out of nowhere, something came over me and I had a meltdown then and there, and dropped into a heap on the ground. I was found by one of my workmates. The bosses drove me home and my workmate rode my bike home.

When I got home, my wife was put onto DVA, who then sent a car over to my place and took me to my GP. But my GP was on holidays. Filling in for him was a regular Army Major. He knew straight away what was going on and the next day I was in hospital where I stayed for the next three months.

I found a new support outlet with martial arts, firstly in Kung Fu and then Wing Chun.

Read Brian’s full story here, and learn how exercise helped him control his PTSD.

Activities and programs for the ex-serving community

The staying active page on Engage outlines support and programs to promote physical fitness, exercise and an active lifestyle. Engage is designed for current and former ADF members, and their families, providing information on not-for-profit services available from a range of service providers.

The Heart Health Program improves veterans' health and wellbeing through practical exercise, nutrition and lifestyle management support.

Heart Health is a 12-month program conducted that includes two physical activity sessions per week and 12 health educational seminars. It can be offered as an individual or group program.

For further information visit:

Community-based walking programs are popular across Australia, including:

These challenges not only increase your physical activity, but also provide the opportunity to socially connect with others.

For further information on your first steps to better health, visit: