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The U.S. Navy has a Special Forces team called the SEALS. It takes a lot to become part of this elite group. One of the many physical challenges that SEALS in training must complete is called “surf torture”. Basically the entire class must wade into the surf zone to their waist line and then sit down with arms linked. The whole time they are there the waves crash into them, hence the term “surf torture”. The biting cold water quickly sucks out all of the body’s warmth and before long, the entire class shivers in unison as the waves crash over their heads. The plan calls for submersion to the brink of hypothermia, then the trainees get pulled out for some calisthenics to warm up - then back in the surf for more conditioning. The training session has been proven a very successful way to teach prospective SEALS how to mentally fend off the effects of hypothermia.


I’m quite sure the trainees don’t enjoy the surf torture and all of the physical agony that comes along with it. However, recognizing the onset of hypothermia and knowing how the body reacts under such extreme conditions may one ...

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