A female Israeli soldier takes part in a training session in Krav Maga at a military base in the Golan Heights, March 1, 2017.
(photo credit: NIR ELIAS / REUTERS)
IDF combat soldiers will soon be able to work out for free at gyms across the country when they are home on the weekends.
Starting February 15 and continuing throughout the year, combat troops will be able to get in for free at Holmes Places and Go Active gyms, as part of a joint initiative between Holmes Place Group and Yahad-United for Israel’s Soldiers called “Together for the Soldier.”
Recently, Yahad and Holmes Place received many requests from combat troops to assist them with a one-time entrance to a fitness club near their home during their free time from the army, so that they could maintain their routine training and fitness level.
A recent survey by the Panels Institute regarding soldiers’ physical activity showed that 86% of combat fighters continued to routinely work out on weekends while away from base. The survey, which included 250 combat soldiers, found that 72% preferred to run, while another 40% preferred to work out at gyms when they came home.
Only 14% replied that they preferred to rest while away from base.
In addition to the survey, focus discussions were held with soldiers serving in elite units, which indicated that contrary to the belief that fighters use their vacation for rest and recreation, they prefer instead to maintain their workout routine.
“In light of the results of the survey, as well as focus talks with combat fighters and the growing demand from them, we decided to take action and open the Holmes Place Clubs and Go Active for combat soldiers during their leave from the army,” Richie Hunter, chairman of Holmes Place Group, said in a statement provided to The Jerusalem Post.
“This is a program that will also be suitable for soldiers who [have] combat support positions in the IDF. I hope that other business owners will join and act for combat soldiers during the short time they spend at home,” Hunter added.
Yahad Deputy Director Col. (res.) Sharon Harmon said that the organization places combat troops “at the top of the list of priorities, and constantly makes efforts to formulate a suitable response to their needs. We welcome the cooperation of the Holmes Place network, which will enable fighters and soldiers in compulsory service to exercise free of charge so that they can continue with their training routine even during vacation.”
The IDF recently increased the salaries of combat soldiers by NIS 400 to NIS 2,000 a month, but military figures have pointed to a decline in the motivation of new recruits to serve in combat roles, preferring instead to serve in technology roles or cyberdefense.
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