FEBRUARY 20, 2023 – Having a good level of fitness and being comfortable in a variety of environments is crucial when joining the military. Strength, endurance, and flexibility are important for long hours on your feet whilst carrying heavy equipment. You also need to prepare for being in different climates, weather conditions, heights, being in water, and tight spaces. Therefore, training inside a gym can only get you so far. Instead, you should look to other sports and physical activities to help you get physically and mentally ready for military service.
Water activities can help you get comfortable with water. Being able to swim is a valuable skill in the military so practice, with clothes on too if you can, to build your ability at swimming. You can view details on how other water-based activities like kayaking, canoeing, and paddle boarding can be great for fitness too. Remember to be sure to take proper precautions when you’re in, on or near water, such as wearing a life jacket and training with a partner, to make sure you stay safe.
Getting familiar with heights is also a necessity. You can join an indoor climbing gym where you can use learn how to belay and use harnesses or try bouldering which is climbing walls without a harness, but the wall isn’t as high. If you have the chance, you can try some outdoor climbs and this can get you comfortable at heights in the outdoor world too. Climbing is a great full-body workout, which requires in particular upper body strength, grip strength and leg strength.
Activities like football, rugby, lacrosse, and hockey are great ways of building up your cardiovascular endurance. This is because these kinds of sports are aerobic exercises that require raising your heart rate for a long period of time. Better cardiovascular endurance gives a range of benefits including weight loss, lower blood pressure, decreases the risk of strokes, and a more efficient immune system.
These games improve not only your stamina but your teamwork and interpersonal skills as well. Being able to work together with other people and getting along with them will mean your time in the military will be happier, and you’ll have a good support network. Collaborating with team members to work towards a common goal with the ability to overcome problems is a crucial skill in the military.
Meditation and breathing exercises can help keep you become more centered and aware of yourself. It encourages a more positive outlook on life to help you through inevitable tough days during military service. You can use these methods you learn whenever you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed or anxious (such as being in a tight space). Learning to take time out for yourself (even if it’s just 30 seconds) and keeping your cool will be vital skills to have when you’re called up for military service.
Yoga also incorporates meditation during physical movement. It’s great for developing your flexibility which can help you perform better in various military tasks. Flexibility is the range of motion a joint has so increasing this improves your mobility and also helps to decrease your chance of developing an injury. The movements and poses you perform strengthen muscles and are very useful for improving balance. Overall, practicing yoga will be very useful in preparing you for day-to-day life in the military and can help keep you focused and steady physically and mentally.
It’s basic, but it’s a key activity people use to prep, and for good reason. Running is a good cardio exercise, and the same benefits are described in team sports. Running on a treadmill is good for regulating pace and elevation so you can track your progress but try running outside too. Training outside can prepare you for working in different weather conditions and terrains whilst under physical strain.
There are different ways of training when running depending on your aim. For example, you can try interval training, which is when you switch between high-intensity (sprinting) to low-intensity (walking) to enter different heart rate zones; this method is good for burning fat and increasing endurance. There’s also altitude training, which is when you would run or train at higher altitudes. Higher altitudes cause the body to burn more calories and increase the body’s efficiency at transferring oxygen around the body. This creates an advantage when you go to lower altitudes where oxygen is more abundant. You could try running with a weighted vest on as well.
Performing different exercises with short breaks in between is known as circuit training. Usually, around 6-8 activities are chosen, performed for 60 seconds with 15 seconds rest in between – this is then repeated two or three times. Exercises typically include things like push-ups, skipping, sit-ups, leg raises, bicep curls, burpees, etc. Circuits are good full-body workouts (or you can target specific muscle groups by selecting certain exercises) that can be done from anywhere. They don’t require equipment if it’s not available, because you can simply use your own body weight for strength exercises and simple cardio exercises, such as high knees running.
Wake Up Early
Not so much an activity, but definitely something that you should start doing before starting military service. And it’s not just waking up, but actually getting up out of bed earlier, no matter how uncomfortable that is. It’s hard to leave a nice, warm bed in the morning but this will not only train your body into having to rise early (which you’ll most likely have to do) but improve your willpower. This is essential in building a tough mentality and can-do attitude that you’ll constantly call upon when serving.
Military service is tough but preparing properly for it will help you adapt to life better. Water sports can help you get used to water, climbing can improve how you handle heights and team sports will work on your teamwork. Trying yoga, getting up earlier and meditation can help with your mental strength. All these activities will help you quickly work on your physical, mental and emotional fitness which will be vital during military service.