Fitness levels pushed for military members

By Ashley Wiebe
June 21, 2018 - 5:17pm Updated: June 21, 2018 - 6:55pm


RALSTON, AB — Members with the Canadian Armed Forces are constantly being trained and tested.

Men and women are required to push their minds and bodies to the limit.

A physical test testing for strength and endurance is mandatory once a year.

The test is the same for both men and women.

“This is very realistic to what our job is,” said Sergeant Brittany Underhill, who is the only preventative medicine technician at CFB Suffield.

“I’ve been out to the training area a few times since I’ve been here, I go all over the base,” she said. “I’m very rarely in my office, I’m usually everywhere on base.”

Underhill worked as a medic before making the switch to preventative medicine and said she wanted to help stop people from getting sick.

“My entire job is to prevent sickness or injury before it actually gets to that point where they have to seek help,” she said.

She, like many others, needs to keep in top shape.

The FORCE fitness evaluation test is something every Canadian soldier, man or woman, needs to complete.

“The fitter people are when they deploy to maybe countries that they could be in harm’s way, then the better chance they’ve got of actually surviving on the battlefield,” said Wayne Cooper, fitness and sports instructor. “That’s what it boils down to at the end of the day.”

Cooper said the functional movements are meant to test a persons body.

“I use to think the sandbag one was the most challenging, but after my last test I guess I did better on that then previous times,” said Cpl. Maria Szilagyi.

Szilagyi has been with the Canadian Armed Forces for more than 30 years.

“At one time, like, when I was working as a rigger, I was packing parachutes all day and that was very physical,” she said.

The pair know they have to be ready for anything.

“We’re always told we’re soldiers first, so there’s certain times where our job is put aside and you’re just a regular soldier, going out and doing the same field craft as everybody else,” Underhill said.

Cooper added that fitness runs deeper than training for the yearly fitness evaluation.

“It’s about the wellness of the whole community as well, really, and not just the soldiers but their dependants and their children as well, you know?” Cooper said. “It’s such an important aspect of also being in the military.”

Burrowing owls released into wild at CFB Suffield