I had the privilege of listening to Bevan K. Baker, former commissioner of health for the City of Milwaukee, who spoke at a health-care conference. Baker shared how the Navy SEAL motto “If you aren’t dead yet, then don’t give up” was an inspiration for his work with the Milwaukee Health Department, the largest health department in Wisconsin, an academic facility with multiple outpatient health centers. As difficult as any of his department’s goals were to achieve, Baker felt they could not compare with the hardships, stamina, and rigorous training required of Navy SEALs (Baker, 2017).
I was inspired to do a little research on Navy SEALs, and I learned that to be considered as a Navy SEAL enlisted recruit you need to be able to swim five hundred yards (twenty lengths of a twenty-five-yard pool) in at least twelve minutes and thirty seconds. You have to be able do fifty push-ups, fifty sit-ups, and at least ten pull-ups. You also need to be able to run one-and-a-half miles in under ten minutes and thirty seconds. These are the minimum requirements. For Navy SEAL officers, the bar is set higher.
How do future Navy SEAL recruits achieve these goals? The Navy encourages a long-term approach with gradual progress over several months, rather than cramming in workouts for more instant, but short-lived results. According to its website, the Navy recommends the best track to become a Navy SEAL is to decide that quitting is not an option, regardless of how challenging the task. The Navy says making this decision increases the likelihood of becoming a Navy SEAL. (U.S. Navy, n.d.)
I would advocate that there are some important lessons older adults can learn from Navy SEALs:
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