FORT Bliss, Texas – Soldiers from Fort Bliss received a week of instruction on how to swim from a professional at the facility’s aquatic training center September 19-23.
This training was hosted by the Fort Bliss Holistic Health and Fitness team to expand soldiers’ knowledge of proper swimming techniques and demonstrate the benefits pool physical training can have on physical readiness when done correctly.
While there are jobs that give soldiers the opportunity to get out in the oceans, lakes, and rivers, the military is primarily a land force, not known for its ability to conduct waterborne operations, so why do soldiers need to learn to swim?
“Being in the water can help us be better at our missions on dry land so we can recover faster,” said Jeff Ochs, tactical swimming coach. “[Swimming] It can be a job enhancer, career extension, uptime extension, capacity extension and other things.”
With the right technique, Utsch says, anyone can get into a pool and work as hard as ever to maximize their heart rate, but recover more quickly from exertion.
“As we get older, doing these runs becomes more difficult because our bodies start to get tired,” he said. “We get people coming in who might have a groin injury or not run fast or have aches and pains, but swimming with proper technique can keep them fit without causing additional damage.”
Utsch emphasized the first rule when swimming is to do no harm, and to do so people must apply appropriate techniques.
“A lot of people come into the pool and don’t know what to do or don’t know how to plan to swim, so they stay out of the water,” he said. “When they get into the water, they consider it boring. Periods are a lot of conflict so why would you do that?”
Utsch’s goal is to teach the skills of proper injury prevention technique and then expand the minds of soldiers about what being in the water can do for them.
“There is a lot of research from the Councilman Center for Swimming Science at Indiana University Bloomington on all the benefits of swimming, like just getting into the water and what it does with our blood pressure,” he said. “They did a 40 or 50 year study among runners, walkers, and swimmers. The benefits of having water and what it does for quality of life, longevity and above health.”
He says health is just one of the benefits of water activities.
“We have recovery, rehab, off-season conditioning, in-season conditioning, alternate weight loss training, all power system training that you can do in the water if you’re too tired to do it on dry land,” he said. “It’s really extra stocks in the quiver, extra tools in the toolbox that not enough people are using.”
He added that many older athletes like Tom Brady use aquatic exercises to extend their competitive edge.
“Instead of stretching things, we need to work more on lengthening our muscles to keep them looking younger especially as we age,” Ochs said. “Swimming can be a kind of antidote to tightness, aging, and feeling less flexible.”
This training is not just for athletes or the military, anyone can benefit from learning these skills.
“I’ve taught people who can’t get off the bottom of the pool and are afraid to make it to Olympic swimmers,” he said. “Both of them will get something out of this.”
One soldier learned a lot about his abilities during training.
“I think I learned a lot,” said the sergeant. Christopher Higgins, health care professional with 1st Battalion, 67th Armored Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team. “I thought I was a good swimmer, but this class taught me that I wasn’t really as good as I thought.”
Higgins hopes to see more of this type of training and wants to see it added to the recovery or replenishment of physical training for soldiers who need it.
“Units are always looking for things that don’t work or push-ups or sit-ups, and this is one of those things that when done right are just as effective if not more,” Higgins said. “Even if you have wounded soldiers, you can still incorporate them into swimming.”
Och, who works primarily with the Navy, said this is the first time he has worked with Army soldiers. He does this training to give back and belong to great men and women of patriotism.
“If the Army establishes a swimming program, it will extend their career. There will be fewer injuries, faster recovery from injuries, fitter soldiers, and overall it will raise the capabilities of our armed forces personnel.” “We have shown how this can extend the careers of top athletes, especially if they enhance their training with swimming.”
He stated that by creating good swimmers, we end up with more fit soldiers because the evidence proves that people who enter the water are healthier and have greater physical endurance.
Soldiers should contact their holistic health and fitness coaches for more information about what swimming can do for their units.
|Announcement date:||09.23.2022 10:21|
|Site:||Fort Bliss, Texas, United States|
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