The Pentagon has some harsh words for Generation Z -- those aged between 18 and 25 years old -- with the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service's explaining in a press release that this generation is literally not built as strong as the last.
Major Thibodeau, a clinical coordinator and chief of the medical readiness service line at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri actually said: "The "Nintendo Generation" soldier skeleton is not toughened by activity prior to arrival, so some of them break more easily".
The weaker skeleton of Gen Z is because of the sedentary, you know... too much time sitting around like I am right now writing, or when you're playing games... and this isn't something that previous generations did. At least not as much, as there wasn't the allure of gaming surrounding them. This has led to more skeleton-related injuries as the "Nintendo Generation" bodies aren't used to the stress that soldiers are put through... even in basic training.
Army Capt. Lydia Blondin, assistant chief of physical therapy at the General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital at Fort Leonard Wood explained: "We see injuries ranging from acute fractures and falls, to tears in the ACL, to muscle strains and stress fractures, with the overwhelming majority of injuries related to overuse. These occur mostly in the lower extremities. Statistically, females tend to have a higher incidence of injury than their male counterparts".
Fixing the issues include a few steps, with new recruits told to "get off the couch" with a training regime that includes:
- Start a training program with weight bearing exercises like running, walking, and some weight training.
- Consider a "Couch-to-5K" running progression program online or something similar to help slowly build into the rigors of basic training, especially if you've never played sports in high school, or if you're older and haven't been super active for a few years, since that makes you significantly more likely to sustain an injury at training.
- Talk to your recruiter about any train-up opportunities.
- Make sure you get in that sunshine and drink some milk regularly - Blondin said they commonly see low calcium and vitamin D levels, specifically with bone stress injuries
- Watching your diet: In general, diet [https://www.health.mil/News/Articles/2022/01/20/Youd-Be-Surprised-How-Eating-Habits-Affect-You-and-Your-Readiness] is a huge factor in bone and muscle heath and can significantly affect injury risk and recovery.
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