Garrison ‘fitness’ program promotes total well-being

Being fit is more than just lifting weights.
In fact, a person’s total fitness includes their emotions, spirituality, and the ways in which they interact with their family and friends, according to the Department of the Army. That’s why the DA designed the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program: to measure the overall fitness of Soldiers, family members and DA civilians in the areas of physical, social, family, emotional and spiritual fitness.

These “pillars” of fitness are the basis for new Comprehensive Fitness Programs that the Department of Health Promotion and Wellness Public Health Command Region-Europe are rolling out in garrisons throughout Europe.

 “We’re taking the five pillars of fitness and linking those with existing local programs, based on their definitions,” said Amy Cates, PHCR-Europe Health Promotion officer for U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart and USAG Heidelberg.

The objectives of the CFP are to increase resiliency of military community members; synchronize the medical, community and tactical units and organizations in providing fitness programs and information; increase the community comprehension of fitness opportunities and reduce high-risk behaviors, Cates said.

The CFPs also carry out the strategy of the Installation Management Command Campaign Plan by promoting Soldier, family and civilian well-being.
Col. Carl D. Bird, USAG Stuttgart commander, explained why the CFP is so important to the community.

“Comprehensive Fitness is key to the health of our community,” he said. “We are already doing a lot of this with the programs we run every day, but we need to organize it in a way that makes sense for our service members and families. That is what this program is about: making it easier to identify what daily activities we are conducting and which pillars they support.” On Feb. 16, Cates met with USAG Stuttgart CFP leaders to discuss the way ahead for the USAG Stuttgart CFP, set to begin this spring.

Stuttgart’s CFP team leaders include the directors and commanders of the garrison Army Community Service, Child, Youth and School Services, the Army Substance Abuse Program, the Religious Support Office, and the Stuttgart Army Health Clinic.
During the meeting, Cates and the team leaders planned ways to highlight the pillars of fitness, using examples from USAG Wiesbaden and USAG Vicenza. The Wiesbaden Community Comprehensive Fitness Program was nominated for the Secretary of the Army Superior Quality of Life award in January 2011, and the Vicenza CFP was named a Best Practice in June 2010.

“We took the best from Wiesbaden and we took the best from Vicenza — we’re applying them to our unique community,” Cates said.

Stuttgart’s team leaders decided to highlight the five pillars based on two factors: the DA’s monthly focuses — such as the Month of the Military Child in April — and the needs of the community, based on data each organization collects.

If the community experiences a peak in domestic abuse, ACS may host classes on how to manage anger and RSO may host a Peaceful Warriors yoga class to help service members better manage stress. These efforts would touch on all five pillars of fitness.

“We will be able to get a good picture of what we need to focus on … based on our findings,” Cates said. The CFP team helps the garrison provide a holistic fitness program and promotes collaboration, she added.

“We’ve got mission. We’ve got medical. We’ve got garrison,” she said of the team. “All three sides are talking about the same shared vision: how to improve the comprehensive health of the community.”

For more information about the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program, visit