Transitioning to civilian life through movement

20 April 2023

Exercise physiologists at the Mates4Mates centres in Townsville and Brisbane are supporting soldiers with their transition into civilian life through physical rehabilitation.

It can be very common for servicemen and women to hold a “push through to get the job done” mentality firmly in their minds.

While this may be seen as necessary for their role in the military, after transitioning, this can lead to increased injuries and create fear avoidance behaviours as they age.

Starting to un-learn this behaviour prior to transitioning can help support the process of re-entering civilian life safely, particularly if the soldier has an injury.

This is what Mates4Mates aims to achieve with their four-week Solider Recovery Program led by exercise physiologists in both Townsville at the Lavarack Barracks and in Brisbane at the Gallipoli Barracks.

The Soldier Recovery Program

Running multiple times through the year, the Solider Recovery Program includes:

  • Introductory physical education workshops
  • Explain Pain workshops
  • Static/dynamic stretching workshops
  • Pilates classes
  • Yoga classes
  • Hydrotherapy classes
  • Group physical training (PT) sessions

Mates4Mates exercise physiologists work with the soldiers to increase their confidence in overcoming barriers associated with their transition through exercise and movement.

Instead of trying to push through pain and injury or saying, “I can’t do this”, it becomes a question of how they can modify their new lifestyle for meaningful movement, taking into account the psychological and social aspects of pain, not just the physical.

Soldiers within the recovery program have shared how it has allowed them to put their health first and feel encouraged to ask questions and engage in discussions to further their learnings. 

“By breaking down the perceptions of Defence versus civilian mindsets to exercise, you can see soldiers begin to branch out of their movement comfort zones, all of which is preparing them for their future outside of the military,” Townsville exercise physiologist, Cathy said.

Support at Mates4Mates

Mates4Mates exercise physiologists also provide one-on-one appointments for current and ex-serving Defence Force member, and their families, as well as a range of group exercise classes.

If you would like to find out more about how a Mates4Mates exercise physiologist can support your physical and mental health, reach out to us on 1300 4 MATES (62 837) for a confidential chat.

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