Skip to main content

Military Health System

Why Today’s ‘Gen Z’ is at Risk for Boot Camp Injuries

Image of Military personnel during boot camp. Recruits perform a warm-up run during a physical training session inside Freedom Hall at Recruit Training Command. More than 35,000 recruits train annually at the Navy's only boot camp. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Camilo Fernan)

Recommended Content:

Total Force Fitness | Physical Fitness | Nutritional Fitness | Readiness Capabilities | Injury Prevention

Editor's Note: This is the first in a series of articles about recruit and trainee training, and how the Military Health System supports the military services in maintaining optimal health as these young men and women go through basic training and recruit training and enter the military.

For today's generation of 18-to-25-year-olds, making it through recruit training and successfully transitioning from civilian life into the military is not easy.

Today's recruits are coming from a far more sedentary lifestyle compared to previous generations, making their skeletons more prone to injuries because they're not used to the kind of intense activity they will face at basic training.

A few weeks of deliberate fitness preparation before shipping out to boot camp or basic training can greatly increase an incoming recruit's chances of success by avoiding the most common injuries that can delay or derail a recruit's completion of initial military training.

"We see injuries ranging from acute fractures and falls, to tears in the ACL, to muscle strains and stress fractures, with the overwhelming majority of injuries related to overuse," said Army Capt. Lydia Blondin, assistant chief of physical therapy at the General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital at Fort Leonard Wood.

These occur mostly in the lower extremities, she said. Statistically, females tend to have higher incidence of injury than their male counterparts, she added.

What can recruits do before getting to training?

To prepare for basic training, new recruits should "get off the couch," said Army Maj. Jon-Marc Thibodeau, a clinical coordinator and chief of the medical readiness service line at Fort Leonard Wood. Preparation can include:

  • Start a training program with weight bearing exercises like running, walking, and some weight training.
  • Consider a "Couch-to-5K" running progression program online or something similar to help slowly build into the rigors of basic training, especially if you've never played sports in high school, or if you're older and haven't been super active for a few years, since that makes you significantly more likely to sustain an injury at training.
  • Talk to your recruiter about any train-up opportunities.
  • Make sure you get in that sunshine and drink some milk regularly - Blondin said they commonly see low calcium and vitamin D levels, specifically with bone stress injuries
  • Watching your diet: In general, diet is a huge factor in bone and muscle heath and can significantly affect injury risk and recovery.

For more information to prepare for basic the training, check out this blog from the Human Performance Resources by CHAMP -- the Consortium for Health and Military Performance at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, in Bethesda, Maryland.

This article has been modified from its original version.

 

 

You also may be interested in...

How the U.S. Military Acclimates Units to High-Altitude Operations

Article
11/28/2022
Service members on a mountain

The Military Health System takes measures to prevent and mitigate altitude sickness in service members operating at high altitudes. For best results, it’s key to acclimate units gradually and progressively.

Recommended Content:

Total Force Fitness | Health Readiness & Combat Support

Lifestyle Changes Could Add 10-15 Years to Your Life

Article
11/8/2022
A female Navy physical therapist works with a senior citizen lying on a table holding a ball.

You're never too old to start being more physically active and eating healthier, which can add years to your life.

Recommended Content:

Preventive Health Toolkit | Total Force Fitness

What Does Vitamin B Do for Me? Much More than You Think

Article
10/17/2022
A colorful board of foods with vitamin B including grains, vegetables,, and meats.

Why all eight of the B vitamins are essential to your health.

Recommended Content:

Nutritional Fitness

Out for a Bike Ride? Remember These Safety Tips

Article
10/11/2022
A safety officer overlooks bike riders on a street

Bike riding is a popular form of transportation, physical activity, and fun, but doing it safely is key.

Recommended Content:

Physical Fitness | Summer Safety | Winter Safety

Avoid summertime food poisoning with these easy tips

Article
8/12/2022
Someone cooking on a grill

Food safety in the summer is just as important as sunscreen

Recommended Content:

Nutritional Fitness | Summer Safety | Summer Safety Toolkit

Yoga Shield: Building Mental and Physical Resiliency

Article
8/9/2022
Airman teaches yoga to a variety of Airmen in Springfield, Ohio, so they learn mental and physical resiliency.

Airman teaches yoga to decrease stress, enhance resiliency

Recommended Content:

Physical Fitness

Ask the Doc: Can I Develop Sudden Food Allergies?

Article
8/1/2022
Allergy Test

Have you ever had an allergic reaction and not know you had an allergy?

Recommended Content:

Nutritional Fitness | Ask The Doc

How Performance Nutrition Can Help You Maintain Readiness

Article
7/29/2022
A person serving himself a salad

Performance nutrition is a major key to force readiness.

Recommended Content:

Performance Nutrition: Fuel Your Body and Mind | Total Force Fitness | Nutritional Fitness

How Registered Dietitians Can Help You Fuel for Peak Performance

Article
7/25/2022
A woman leads a presentation.

Registered dietitians can help service members reach their goals with healthy and safe options.

Recommended Content:

Nutritional Fitness

The Need for Speed Requires Intense Training

Article
7/18/2022
 Military personnel conducts routine ops in US 3rd Fleet

Tom Cruise has nothing on real military pilots and their training.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Education & Training | Physical Fitness

How Diet, Lifestyle and Mental Health Impact Your Overall Health

Article
7/13/2022
Military personnel holding a cookie and broccoli

Think you might need to lose a little weight? You're not alone. Even in the military, where maintaining physical fitness remains a job requirement and a key component of military readiness, thousands of service members struggle with weight.

Recommended Content:

Nutritional Fitness | Performance Nutrition: Fuel Your Body and Mind

Tips for Enjoying Outdoor Activities as Summer Arrives

Article
6/27/2022
People biking on a trail in protective gear

Biking, paddle boarding, swimming, and hiking are good ways to get outside in nature in the summer.

Recommended Content:

Physical Fitness | Summer Safety

Tactical Diaper Bags and Other Fathers' Day Tips from a Marine Officer

Article
6/16/2022
Tactical Diaper Bags and Other Fathers' Day Tips from a Marine Officer

“When we deploy, our lives become simpler, while theirs become more complex: In addition to missing their husband and father, they are missing someone who should be helping to shoulder the burden that military life places on kids.”

Recommended Content:

Total Force Fitness

Could a Therapy Dog Help with Your Dental Anxiety?

Article
6/2/2022
Air Force Brig. Gen. Goldie, a facility therapy dog at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, helps reduce anxiety in a patient with complex dental conditions that require multiple appointments. The use of therapy dogs is part of an ongoing study with these patients.

A first-of-its-kind study at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center is researching whether using facility therapy dogs in dentists’ offices could reduce patient anxiety and improve outcomes for military dental treatment programs.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Total Force Fitness

Tips for Military Parents Planning PCS Moves with Children

Article
6/2/2022
Moving can be hard on military families, especially on children. Moving to a new home, going to a new school, finding new friends – it can be unsettling for kids of any age. Yet there are things that service members can do to prepare for a permanent change of station move that can make for a smoother transition for the children.

Moving can be hard on military families, especially on children. Moving to a new home, going to a new school, finding new friends – it can be unsettling for kids of any age. Yet, there are things that service members can do to prepare for a permanent change of station move that can make for a smoother transition for the children.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Total Force Fitness
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 8
Refine your search
Last Updated: July 15, 2022
Follow us on Instagram Follow us on LinkedIn Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on YouTube Sign up on GovDelivery