Physical training in the Serbian Armed Forces

The modern soldier, or the ”21 century " soldier is conditioned by the interconnectedness of three factors: training, physical fitness and psychological fitness. Training and psychological fitness are directly dependent on physical fitness, but they must be expressed jointly.

 In the history of warfare, physical fitness has always played a significant role in soliders’ preparedness for combat. In the original wars, physical fitness and physical skills played an almost crucial role. The outcome of the battles largely depended on the physical potentials of individuals, because the battles were fought "hand to hand". With the development of science and technology, especially in the last decade, that importance has seemingly diminished. The dominance of technology only seemingly reduced the physical engagement of soldiers on the battlefield.

Because of that, all the armies in the world continue to pay great attention to physical training. In some units, such as special purpose units (parachute, counter-terrorist, reconnaissance, commando, etc.), a high level of physical fitness is necessary due to the nature of their engagement. With the rise of terrorism, the importance of these units has been growing and they are required to undergo better quality training, where top physical fitness and preparedness are a requirement.
In addition, in war, physically fitter fighters are more resistant to various types of stress, exertions and difficulties of all kinds, on which morale and willingness to fight depend. In war, physically weak soldiers perceive themselves as useless and often escape from reality by indulging in alcohol and other forms of undesirable behaviour. The physically fitter are more resistant and adapt better to various climate and temperature changes, hunger, thirst, lack of sleep, etc.

It is especially important that a physically fit fighter resists fatigue more easily and recovers faster from it. The physical fitness of soldiers, in peace and war, has a direct impact on the efficiency in performing tasks. In addition to the fact that a physically fitter fighter can more easily endure the efforts and difficulties during the execution of tasks, he is less prone to injuries when overcoming various terrains and obstacles, and the wounded recover faster.

Impaired health is often the result of several factors, but one of the basic ones is insufficient care for physical fitness. These facts can significantly jeopardize operational capabilities of the units, the work and economic potential of each army (sick leave, medical expenses, etc.).

A joint declaration by the International Federation of Sports Medicine (FIMS) and the World Health Organization (WHO) entitled "Physical activity for health" emphasized that insufficient physical activity is nowadays the most important factor in unnecessary illness and premature death and that regular, programmed physical activity broadly protects the body from the most significant chronic non-communicable diseases of the modern world.

Based on a large number of researches today, it can be stated with certainty that appropriate physical activity is the main factor in the prevention of the growing global danger of chronic diseases, and that regular, programmed physical activity can be successfully used not only in prevention but also in treatment of many chronic diseases.

The socio-economic and social realities in which today’s generations grow up leave consequences on their psycho-physical development. General social movements throughout the world have caused a significant increase in addicts (drugs, tobacco, alcohol, etc.), and the time of "sedentary lifestyle", conditioned by frequent sitting in front of computers, TVs, preoccupation with mobile phones, etc., endangers the biological potential of young people. Unfortunately, a sufficient degree of habit of engaging in physical exercise and sports has not been created in the civil society, even during the schooling of pupils and students.

These facts impose on the Serbian Armed Forces a complex task to overcome these negative consequences in a relatively short time and achieve the set goals in raising and maintaining a high level of physical fitness of their members.

In the Serbian Armed Forces, physical training is an integral part of training that is conducted in a planned and systematic way as a permanent process of training and exercising by performing: morning exercise, physical exercise, applied physical exercise, sports day, sports competitions and physical fitness tests.
The aim of morning exercise is to get the body into the daily routine faster and raise the optimal level of endurance.

Physical training classes are the basic form of physical activity in which skills are acquired and adopted (i.e. movement patterns and habits) and in which the physical fitness necessary for successful mastering of the training process is increased and maintained.

Applied physical exercise as a form of physical training is performed within special forms of training (going to and returning from training, after performing tactical exercises, shooting, preparation for bivouacking and other forms of training, training on load-bearing performance in certain activities, etc.). It is a form of physical training that must be directly related to military training as a whole. It is performed in all conditions with maximum use of natural facilities on the ground, equipment and training grounds.

Sports day is an organized form of physical training that enables engaging in all PE activities, through competition and entertainment, in order to raise physical fitness to a higher level.

Free sports activities are intended to satisfy the preferences and needs of individuals for playing sports, through organized forms of work, such as work in sports groups, competitions, etc.

The physical fitness test is taken to determine the level of physical fitness of professional military personnel to perform tasks within the assigned mission of a command, unit or institution.

In addition, Instructions on sports competitions in the Serbian Armed Forces envisage carrying out sports competitions and championships regularly and at all levels, rounding off with the Sports Championship of the Serbian Armed Forces. Members of the Serbian Armed Forces participate in numerous, local and international sports competitions in a planned, organized and active manner.