Fit for military service
During the compulsory military service, the proportion of physical training takes up almost half of the time used for training.
The aim is for conscripts to use physical education to find ways to maintain an active lifestyle throughout the period of liability for military service until they leave the reserve.
Before entering the military service it is recommended to exercise 3-5 times a week at least 20 (preferably 20-60) minutes at the intensity of 60-90 % of one´s maximum heart rate. Additional health benefits can be gained through daily physical activity as well as avoidance of continuous and prolonged (>2 hours) sitting. Recommended activities include e.g. walking, running, nordic walking, cross country skiing, swimming and cycling. In order to maintain the musculoskeletal system in good condition one should additionally do resistance exercise e.g. circuit training, weight lifting 1-3 times a week.
These recommendations are targeted to all healthy males and females before and after the military service. However, one should consider a slow progression in increasing the exercise volume especially if the initial fitness and/or physical activity level is low. The Defence Forces offer the possibility of creating their own personal fitness programme using the MarsMars service (www.marsmars.fi). By following the three-month fitness regime beforehand, new recruits are physically better prepared for undergoing military service. The service is open to anyone who wants to increase their physical fitness in their day-to-day life.
Do not forget recovery which is an essential part of physical training and associated with the health benefits gained from regular exercise. Recovery is the physiological restoration and adaptation phase of training. Without proper recovery it is not possible to improve physical fitness. Some examples of the actions that improve recovery are:
- Warm-up and cool-down 10-15 min before and after the exercise
- Stretching, calisthenics, massage
- Hydration in exercises longer than 1 hr
- Well-balanced diet including a variety of vegetables and fruits
- A regular rhythm of life including adequate sleep (7-8 hrs/night)
Consult with medical professionals if you have health-related exercise limitations or abnormal subjective feelings during or after exercise.