Physical activity, social-communicative skills and fitness for military service

BMJ Mil Health. 2023 Oct 5:e002498. doi: 10.1136/military-2023-002498. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Introduction: Research has suggested that increased difficulties in social-communicative skills are associated with release from military service. A few studies have focused on the association between physical activity and military fitness; however, studies of the association between social-communicative skills and physical activity remain scarce. The aim of this study was to investigate the association between the amount of leisure time physical activity and fitness for military service, as well as to investigate the association between social-communicative difficulties and physical activity.

Methods: This is a population-based cross-sectional 'Young Men in the North Project', in which 2614 men (M age=18.1 years) participated in an obligatory military fitness call-up and filled out the study questionnaire.

Results: The results showed that higher physical performance compared with peers and attaining the weekly amount of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity were associated with lower likelihood of being permanently or temporarily released from the service. In addition, difficulties in social-communicative skills were associated with lower physical performance and lower weekly amounts of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. The results also showed that higher physical performance or attaining the recommended weekly amount of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, together with higher social-communicative skills, lowered the likelihood of being permanently or temporarily released from the service.

Conclusions: These results suggest that better physical performance, or a higher level of physical activity, together with better social-communicative skills, lowers the likelihood of being permanently and temporarily released from the military service more than physical performance or physical activity alone.

Keywords: Child & adolescent psychiatry; EPIDEMIOLOGY; SPORTS MEDICINE.