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Physical fitness

It might seem obvious, but it is worth thinking about before you start your training programme: what exactly is the point of fitness in the 21st Century?

Why your fitness matters

Physical Fitness

Physical fitness is a fundamental requirement of every officer and soldier to ensure that not only are you maintaining a healthy lifestyle with numerous benefits, you are able to performance your role effectively and can maintained an optimal level of performance. 

Each and every individual should maintain a high level of personal fitness.  During basic training you will attend programmed PT sessions and whilst in your units, in addition to the organised sessions, you will be required to have a high level of motivation and dedication to maintain your fitness levels. 

Physical fitness is underpinned by good nutrition, a varied, moderate intensity physical activity programme and adequate periods of rest and recovery.

What is Military Fitness?

Army Policy defines Military Fitness as “The ability to respond instantly and effectively to the physical and psychological demands of combat over prolonged periods with the minimum of distress, and return to a normal healthy state once the demand ceases”.  ie the fitter you are the better you are able to do your role when on Operations or in camp.

Components of Military Fitness

During your PT sessions the Royal Army Physical Training Corps (RAPTC) Instructor or All Arms Physical Training Instructor (AAPTI) will ensure that all the components of fitness are trained. 

Should you be away from your unit for a period of time you should ensure you focus on the following areas:

  • Strength
  • Endurance
  • Speed and Agility

By ensuring your training focuses on being as physically strong as possible whilst maintaining a good endurance base, with a mixture of speed, mobility, agility, proprioception and balancing; will enable you to carry out your vocational role within the Army.

Additional Benefits of Physical Fitnes

In addition to maintaining your fitness levels to carry out your role; following a structured and progressive PT programme will reduce your likelihood of suffering from a musculoskeletal injury (see page on MSKI for more information). 

Academic research has shown that the most effective mechanism to prevent injury is to increase the intensity of training gradually, avoid sudden increases in the training load, reduce the amount of miles covered and strengthen the major muscles of the body. 

Also you must ensure you have sufficient energy to train to your optimal physical fitness level by consuming a balanced nutritional intake and ensuring you maintain a regular sleep pattern.

Physical activity also helps with controlling body weight (see page on Weight Management for more information).  In addition, there are lots of evidence to suggest that physical activity has many positive benefits in reducing depression and anxiety (see the Mental Health and Wellbeing page).