An announcement from the U.S. Navy this week saying that its physical fitness requirements will be lowered comes as welcome news to the nearly 50,000 sailors with fitness failures on their records.
New rules which will go into effect March 31 instruct Navy commands to “stop discharging sailors for fitness failures and to cancel any pending discharges,” the Navy Times reported.
The current rules call for sailors to be ousted from the Navy if they fail two fitness assessment tests in a three-year period. The tests graded sailors based on their age, number of push-ups, sit-ups and percentage of body fat. Those who failed the fitness test were deemed ineligible for advancement.
By summer 2017, more than 43,000 sailors were reported to have had at least one failure within the previous three years, while another 5,477 had at least two failures according to officials.
The relaxed regulations come as part of the Navy’s broader effort increase its headcount by more than 4,100 by next September. Those sailors who have previously failed their fitness tests will now be permitted to stay in the Navy until the end of their enlistment.
“The goal of the Navy’s physical readiness program is to maintain a minimum prescribed level of fitness necessary for world-wide deployment and to maintain a sailor’s long-term health and wellness,” according to a statement form the chief of naval personnel.
In 2015, Navy officials relaxed the rules on body fat and softened consequences for failure. According to the new initiative, every sailor’s record will start fresh Jan. 1, but the new rules will be applied in spring for those who don’t meet the new fitness requirements.
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