Physical fitness and anthropometrics in Finnish soldiers during their early career : prospective changes during a 3-year follow-up
Vaara, J.P., Pihlainen, K., Rusila, J., Ojanen, T., & Kyröläinen, H. (2020). Physical fitness and anthropometrics in Finnish soldiers during their early career : prospective changes during a 3-year follow-up. BMJ Military Health, Online First. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjmilitary-2020-001571
Published inBMJ Military Health
© Authors, 2020
Introduction: Physical fitness is a fundamental capability required of military personnel, but studies focusing on longitudinal changes in physical fitness and anthropometrics in soldiers are lacking. The aim was to evaluate physical fitness and anthropometrics in soldiers during their early career. Methods: A 3-year prospective study included 180 male soldiers (baseline age 26±2 years) with measures of a 12 min running test, standing long jump, sit-up and push-up tests, and body mass, height and waist circumference (WC). Baseline data were stratified into tertiles, and the changes within each tertile were analysed using dependent t-tests and analysis of variance. Results: 12 min running test distance decreased on average by 2% (−54 m), sit-up performance 3% (−1.5 repetitions (reps)/min), push-up performance 4% (−1.9 reps/min) and standing long jump performance 1% (−2.1 cm) over the 3-year period (p<0.05). Both aerobic and muscular fitness decreased consistently among the highest baseline tertile (12 min running test: −70 m, sit-ups: −3.2 reps/min, push-ups: −7.5 reps/min, standing long jump: −5.5 cm; p<0.001), whereas both aerobic and muscular fitness levels were maintained and push-up performance was improved (p<0.05) in the lowest baseline tertiles. Body mass increased on average by 4% (+3.4 kg) and WC by 4% (+3.9 cm) (p<0.001), and these increases were observed for all baseline tertiles (p<0.05). Conclusions: Small decrements in physical fitness and anthropometrics exist during the early career of soldiers. The changes in physical fitness differed according to baseline fitness levels. The results indicate that support for exercise training may be needed even in a soldier’s early career. ...
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