Veterans Special : This Amazing Secrets of Fitness May Give you a New Life

A few days ago, there was a report on the Indian Express that the Indian Army has decided on a new measure for physical fitness. Earlier, the physical fitness test was done at the CO level and the annual confidential report mentioned the performance in BPT and PPT. Now, this is to be conducted by a board of officers under a Brigadier and there will be other members.

Officers and soldiers will be checked for their physical fitness. A method is mentioned for quarterly, six-monthly and yearly tests. It will include BPT, PPT, speed marks and long-distance running.

All these things were mentioned in the Indian Express report. I thought I should talk about it because we have also been in the fitness category all our lives. And somewhere or the other, it has come to light that are the officers, JCOs and soldiers of the Indian Army physically fit? Or do they also have lifestyle diseases, obesity problems and other types of problems? So how to deal with it?

The matter has been explained by a Retired Brigadier. He himself has vast knowledge of physical fitness in the Indian Army. He is an ex-NDA. He was commissioned in November 1971, a few days before the start of the war.

He was an officer of that batch. He fought the 1971 war in 4 Garhwal. And after 10 years of service, he went to the PT Corps, i.e. Army Physical Training Corps, APTC.

The ones with red stockings. PT Ustads are there in regimental centers, NDA, IMA, OTA, everywhere. He did a lot of path-breaking work there.

He revised the study of the Indian Army, which is the standard of our physical fitness from the British era. After that, he became a brigadier, he was the commander of the Army Institute of Physical Training.

There, he focused a lot on scientific research and education about physical fitness. Then he was in the technical committee of the World Military Games. It was a very prestigious job.

And apart from this, he has written a lot. He has written two books. In which, he has also written about the verbal history of Ustad Red Stockings, the Army Physical Training Corps.

So, a very passionate, very powerful officer, role model. Even at the age of 74, he has an amazing fitness level.

He has expressed his experience  in a video recently published about the fitness of the NDA, the fitness of the IMA. And the aspirants like you, NDA, IMA, CDS, boys and girls both.

What kind of food should you eat? What kind of daily routine should you have? And what kind of fitness routine should you have? So that when you go to the academy or SSB, you don’t have any physical problem.

So, just read the summary of an amazing podcast with Brigadier Sarvesh Dutt Dangwal. VSM. One of the inspiring officers from Army Physical Training Corps.

Brigadier Sarvesh Dangwal, a veteran, very proud veteran, VSM expressed his views. A detailed description of the conversation is reprodued here :-

“So today is a very proud moment for me that you have come to my show, sir. So how are you, sir? “

“Yash, thank you very much for the words you said. And I want to thank you on my behalf and on behalf of the entire veterans community. Because you are doing such a good job. And you are right. Your first step for people is very important.

And I am very fortunate. And I feel privileged that you thought of this. At a time when there is a lot of talk on this topic.

As far as physical training and physical ability is concerned. So at that time, you are doing an interview with me. And whatever is in my mind and whatever I have learned from my experience in the army.

I will share it with you. So that the listeners at least realize this. Where is the problem in reality? Where is the problem? And why is it happening? That we have become so insensitive to a good thing, which is the basis of the training of the army.

So you ask me questions. And I will answer it in a free way. And you must have heard Javed Akhtar’s poem.

Whatever everyone is afraid to say, write it. It was so dark last night. Write that thing.

So we write it in a free way. We will talk in a free and impartial way. Sir, first of all, tell me.

You are a veteran. You still go to the gym. In fitness. Still do trekking. When you look back today. To your army. To your APTC Corps. To the officers. To the soldiers. What do you think, sir? Why have we not been able to develop this culture of fitness in the Indian Army? What are the reasons, sir?

Two or three reasons. There should be a discussion about fitness. Whoever joins the army should be fit all his life.

What is the reason? Is it a lifestyle disease? Is it obesity? Is it hypertension? Is it blood sugar? Is it alcohol dependency? I have also been involved in such cases in my service. You must have seen it too. So what are your thoughts on this, sir? Yes.

I was very surprised when I read this news in the story edition of the Indian Express on 28th June, January. You just discussed about it. And I was very surprised that what has happened that the level of the army has fallen so much that it is a question of our physical strength and physical fitness.

And it is a very surprising thing in itself that our organization is such an organization that when I say soldiers, all the officers and soldiers are included in it. So in their program, they are given a special time for sports. And it is considered a duty.

Correct. And even after that, you see, the rest of the people have their own time for their duty and their own relaxation and exercise or playing is different. Here, you have thought that we exercise for government expenses, we play for government expenses, and even after that, we are not able to keep ourselves fit and healthy.

So it is very important to think about it and think about it. In this, Yash, I would like to share with your listeners that earlier in the army, or you assume that in the armed forces, which we call the armed forces, there was no special program for fitness. What I mean to say is that there was no such training program as there is today in books and which we call a formal training manual.

Yes. Formal training. So the people of that time, the army was still there.

It is not that there was no army at that time. They believed that whatever we do in the army, we pick up heavy swords, pick up guns, pick up weights, walk from here to there, ride horses. This was enough for a man or a woman to be completely healthy and fit.

Now, the change came in this thought, which was the battle of 1853-1856, in which the UK, France, Sardinia and Turkey had fought with the Russian Empire. After that, there was a British Empire at that time. It came to their understanding that it is necessary to provide physical training to our armies in a customary way.

So, for the first time in history, it was recognized in the armed forces that there should be a manual of physical fitness, there should be proper training. So, what they did was that they took a major of the British army, Hammersley, and during that time, he was Archibald McLaren in Oxford, London. Archibald McLaren was a teacher of gymnastics.

So, he had opened a gymnastics school in Oxford. So, the British army sent Major Hammersley and 12 apostles with him for physical training. What kind of exercise will we get them to do? If we want to formalize it, then what should we do? So, when they went there, they took one year of physical training from him.

Now, it is natural that you can think that because he himself was a gymnastic trainer, so his training system was mostly based on gymnastics. Sir, you have said a big thing. You had written to me once in your letter that the training that came from the British, which is still going on in the army.

It is a shame that we are still doing horse, ground work, PT work. When I was in my service in the IMA, I thought that I have never done anything after that. And it was a useless thing.

There are better ways of physical fitness taking Indian conditions. So, this gymnastics has been going on since then, sir, what you are telling. So, this became the basis, and what happened after that was that these propagandists, then at that time, they gave the name of Army Gymnastics Service under Major Hammersley.

After that, it became Army Physical Training Service. After that, it became Army Physical Training Corps in 1940, while the British Empire was suppressed by the Indian Army. And then India’s APTC was formed on July 1, 1946.

Now, the thing to think about is that all our training from the British Army was based on their pamphlets. So, in the same way, physical training was also based on their pamphlets. And a big part of this, what I have just told you about gymnastics, this is called Instructor’s Physical Efficiency Test in physical training.

IPET, which you were talking about horse, ground work, rope, beam. There are a total of 37 or 49 tests in this. And what did they do? They said, sir, this is first class, second class, third class, special class.

They graded them and made grades. The degree of difficulty of the tests was increasing with each grade. And this became a main basis, which is called Aadhaar Sheela.

If we want to measure someone’s fitness or their measurement, it will be about how capable we are in this. How good we are, how efficient we are, how proficient we are in Instructor’s Physical Efficiency Test. In IPET, yes.

You said you are a direct entry. So, when you came to IIMA, your grandfather was in the army. You lived in India, IIMA.

So, you must have seen the cadets and GCs getting this perception. With their legs bent down on the horse. And in that, I mean.

So, this is also a funny thing. Now, at this age, I find it funny that look, there are 195 countries, which have armies. In any country’s army, this system is not applicable or it is not being done in the present.

It is not being done. And it is now, in today’s date, we are in 2024. Yes.

And you tell me, in 1860, we adopted this system. So, today, look, it has been more than 160 years. And this system is being used in the Indian army.

Now, apart from this, we have two more tests, which we call Physical Proficiency Tests. Now, Physical Proficiency Tests are normally done in the Games Dress or PT Dress. What is the meaning of this? The meaning of this is that a person, whether it is you or me, whether he is a civilian, he should have the physical capacity to do all these things that are mentioned in the PPT.

Only when he can do it, we consider him to be fit. Okay. Now, the biggest misconception we have in our minds is what is fit and what is healthy.

We usually get confused with these two things. We get confused. Health is that all your organs, all your parameters, all your physiological parameters, all these are healthy.

They are in a state of good health. It essentially is how healthy your internal organs are, in which your heart, kidneys, lungs, spleen, bones, blood circulation, the ability to breathe, all these things are there. Now, fitness says that sir, if you are in any field, how capable are you to work in that field with efficiency? Now, you see, a civilian also works in his field.

You cannot call him unfit. If he, let me give you an example, suppose he considers himself to be healthy, he has good habits, his diet is right, and a minimal, as it is given in our physical proficiency, you should have cardiorespiratory, strength, speed, agility, flexibility. So, these are the components of fitness.

It should be in every human being. Because, if you see, the whole shape of a human being is made for action. Its structure is made for action.

It has roughly 700 bones in it, in which the main, the special bones, they focus their thoughts on the 400 big bones only. And, it has muscles. So, if you do not use them, then, like anything gets junked, if I give you something, and you do not use it, what will happen? It will get junked.

Similarly, the body is also a machine. It is a biological machine. Absolutely.

All parts have to function. And, it will keep working. Absolutely.

Now, when a human being’s body is made for action, the more you do action, the healthier your body will be. You will spread your arms and legs. This is a very primary thought.

It is a very, very primary thought. There is a book behind me, Man is Born to Run. Absolutely.

Our job is to stay in action. Sleep or stay in action. Absolutely.

That is what I want to tell you. Your diet, your rest, your recreation, all these things make your lifestyle. That is why we call it a lifestyle.

So, we come back to the old topic, the question you asked me, what is the problem? So, for so many years, apart from this, like I did the analysis of PPT, and now I do the analysis of BPT. Why was BPT made in the army? Yes, BPT. Battle Physical Efficiency Test.

Yes, that is why it was made. And, you must have seen it, Yash. We do it in our battle order.

Okay? Which is our army uniform. And, we do it with weapons. And, we do it with our battle boats.

Why do we do it? We do it because, in our field of work, how capable we are. We can run, we can jump, we can climb, we can lift our body weight. These are all the necessities.

Yes, these are the tests. You need these in your battle field. These are the necessities.

So, you need these in your battle field. So, all these things, their calculation, their measurement, is done through your battle physical efficiency test. And, this old British Empire, this is our heritage, which is still going on.

So, this was happening. When we joined NDA in 1966, this was still there. And, when we went to school, we had never seen anything like this.

The kind of mat work, horse work, rope climbing, yes, we did play in school. And, there was a PT, where everyone was gathered. And, they were asked to move their arms and legs.

Now, what was the result of that? In our feet, by doing full shin splints, because by jumping like a horse, by jumping, people’s feet started to get sprained. Strength fracture. I have seen this a lot in OTA, IMMA, NDA.

And, some children leave it in sadness. Yes, they get worried. And, that increases morbidity.

And, that increases training time. And, that causes so much loss. Anyway, we did it.

After that, slowly, as you keep doing it, your ability to tolerate pain, which we call the mother of tolerance. And, by doing it slowly, your cartilages, your bones become strong. And, then you can do it easily.

So, we were very happy at that time, that what an amazing PT it is. But, slowly, when we came to the army later, when we did the job in the army, then, first of all, we saw that IPAT is not there in our military life, in the normal units. It is not even there.

It is finished. It is only in NDA or PT course. It was not there from the beginning.

Yash, you believe that from our time, and those who were before us, they also did not do it under their PT program. It wasn’t a part. Running activity was there.

Rope climbing was there. Heaving was there. It is related to strength.

So, the components of fitness, Yash, whatever program is made, it is made in such a way that what are the components of your fitness? You should have cardiorespiratory. You should have muscle strength. You should have muscular endurance.

You should have speed. You should have agility. And motor ability is related to this.

You should have coordination. Your structure should be right. And then, to make it, how to make it, if any training program is made, then it is seen that you should have harmonious development.

Not that your arms and legs should become strong. Your legs are weak. Sir, one more thing.

Sir, one more thing. Sir, one more thing. Sir, one more thing.

Sir, one more thing. we have worked in the pre-commissioned training academies everywhere. Our recommendation is this.

Anything which is beneficial for him, he will do it. Field Marshal Manik Shah was the Chief at that time. You went to the United States at that time.

Officials go on a tour. And in the United States Army, they had a space orbiting center. There was a Dr. Cooper there.

He was their medical officer. And in that space orbiting center, he was an expert in physical fitness. And if you look at the literature or books of that time, there was a lot of emphasis on aerobics.

Aerobics means in the presence of oxygen. Anything you do in the presence of oxygen. Biochemical processes of the body, energy pathways.

I will not go into this. I am trying to keep it as basic as possible. What will be our effort with you during this conversation? We are not trying to or I am not trying to reinvent the wheel.

All our scientists, sports scientists, all our doctors, they have done a lot of research on it. A lot of studies have been done on it. Everything is in the books.

Everything is in the laboratories. There is data for everyone. Everything is there.

So what I mean to say is, it is not necessary for us to go back and do research on it. The wisdom is in this that whatever you have taken, whatever is validated, whatever is verified, you pick it up and use it in your system, in your body. Now how you do it, it will depend on your requirements and needs.

What is your genetic structure? What is the weather like in your country? What is the environment like? What is your nutrition like? What are your abilities like? These things are different in a region or a country. So you have to see what is most appropriate for you. So when he went there, Sam Manekshaw saw this and he was very impressed.

That they are doing such a good job on aerobics. Because he believed, Dr. Kenneth Cooper, that the distance of fitness, do you understand the meaning of distance? Distance means pivot. Pivot.

Distance means pivot. The distance of physical fitness is your cardiorespiratory endurance. Okay.

And he believed that in any physical training, the most important part of the training should be aerobics or endurance. Because your heart beats for 24 hours. Right from birth till you have finally said bye-bye.

Till you close your eyes, your life. Now you and I are sitting, your feet are not moving, your hand is not moving. Okay.

But your heart is moving. You are sleeping, your heart is moving. The day it stopped, that day, thank you very much happened.


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