John says that the strength of their gym group is much more than press-ups. It lies in the unit – a core group of 8 veterans who look out for each other. This group represents veterans of the Navy, Army and Air Force.
The 12-month exercise and health program includes monthly seminars on a range of health topics. It is offered as a group program or, where there isn’t a group available, an individual program. At the end of the 12 months, it is up to the individual veteran to use the program as a springboard to a healthier lifestyle.
John recommends the group program. ‘After the program was over, we continued on together, and I don’t think we would’ve done that without the relationships we developed doing the program’, he says. ‘Through 2020, when our gym was closed, we continued to meet (in a COVID-safe way) and at least walk together, and talk over coffee.’
While the social connection element is very important to the group, all their doctors say they are so much healthier as a result of the regular exercise, which they continue under the supervision of an exercise physiologist.
The Heart Health Program is delivered to eligible veterans and peacekeepers by Corporate Health Management (CHM) on behalf of DVA. While it is open to all ages, eligibility requirements include overseas operational service or peacekeeping.
If you would like to check your eligibility for the Heart Health Program, you can telephone CHM on 1300 246 262 or complete a simple questionnaire on CHM’s website: Heart Health Program.
You will also need medical clearance from your GP.
The Heart Health Program page on DVA’s website can also provider further information.
Back Row: John King, John McDade, Wayne Pearce, Brent Nicol (exercise physiologist), Dr Graeme Nicholson
Front Row: Warren Hanger, John Griffiths MBE, Phillip Chamberlain