Get moving, get fit with civilian fitness program

by Marisa Novobilski 21st Theater Sustainment Command Public Affairs
Events like the German- American 5K are one way that civilians can get moving and get fit. Courtesy photo by Brandon Beach
Events like the German-
American 5K are one way that civilians can get moving and get fit. Courtesy photo by Brandon Beach

For three hours during the work week, Brandon Beach ties on his running shoes and hits the trails near Panzer Kaserne.He’s training to run a trail marathon mid-May, and he needs as much time as possible to get ready.

Physical fitness is important to Beach, who’s also a husband, father and full-time Army civilian at the 21st Theater Sustainment Command. The Army Civilian Fitness Program makes it possible for him to train for the race and still have time to meet his work and family needs.

“The Army Civilian Fitness Program is great. It allows me to train for races and gets me out of the office for a few hours each week,” Beach, who likes to run in conjunction with his lunch breaks, said. “When I get back to my desk, I am refreshed, focused and ready to tackle my work assignments. I feel so much more productive after a run.”

The Army CFP2 is designed to encourage civilian employees to improve their health and fitness through formal physical exercise training and other wellness activity.

Army Regulation 600-63, Army Health Promotion, authorizes commanders and supervisors to approve up to three hours of administrative leave per week, allowing employees to participate in physical exercise training, monitoring and education for up to six months in duration. The goal is to raise awareness and knowledge of healthy lifestyle choices and the positive effect these play on workplace productivity.

Just as Soldiers need to be fit to fight, Army civilians need to be healthy in order to be productive members of the work team.

“By encouraging civilians to focus on fitness, health and wellness, we can develop leaders of the future,” said Erika Turner, the Comprehensive Soldier Family and Fitness Program manager for the 21st TSC. “A healthy workforce is a productive workforce. We encourage civilians to work with their supervisors to use the Civilian Fitness Program benefit. Even just three hours a week can make a difference.”

Though Army regulations authorize up to three hours a week to pursue physical fitness activity, Turner often hears a variety of excuses as to why a person is unable to participate. One often heard excuse is that the civilian workload is too high to leave time for a person to pursue health and wellness during the duty day.

This, Turner said, is a myth. Supervisor support for the program across the Army is strong, and there are no excuses for a person to ignore the opportunity. “Supervisors and employees can work together to create a fitness plan,” she said. “The plan can become a part of the employee’s Individual Development Plan. We encourage the widest participation in the program and are available to help employees and supervisors at all levels.”

Physical health and fitness for civilians is part of the 21st TSC’s Ready and Resilient Campaign policy. The R2C focuses on building strong leaders, Soldiers, civilians, families and communities by promoting well-being and executing safety and risk reduction programs, a significant part of the Army CFP2.

Effective time management plays an important role. There are opportunities to be more efficient in the workplace, thereby freeing up time for civilians to pursue personal health improvement. Civilians need to seek these efficiencies in the workplace to make time for health.

Another common excuse many individuals give for not participating in the Army Civilian Fitness Program is a lack of appropriate facilities and equipment to pursue activities.

However, in the KMC there are on-post fitness facilities throughout the region that are open to active-duty military, retirees, dependents and all other military ID cardholders. Some provide 24/7 access to accommodate even the most demanding schedules.

Other civilians say that a lack of knowledge of safe training techniques and how to develop a fitness plan prevent them from pursuing participation in the fitness program. Nevertheless, fitness experts are available at the fitness and wellness centers to help both novice and experienced individuals develop a training plan, with a focus on proper techniques and ways to exercise safely.

A visit to the Army’s Comprehensive Soldier and Family fitness website, is another way that civilians can become more confident and educated about health and fitness.

“We encourage our civilians to visit the CSF2 site,” Turner said. “It’s a holistic online environment that can really help a person optimize the benefits of the Army Civilian Fitness Program and learn what changes are needed to live a healthier life.”

A visit to the site may also encourage civilians who think they do not need to improve health and fitness because they work a desk job, where fitness doesn’t matter, to get on board with the program. By logging into Army Fit and taking the new Global Assessment Tool, GAT 2.0, civilians can get a baseline measurement of their current health and learn ways to improve it.

Comprehensive fitness doesn’t just improve physical shape. According to the CSF2 site, the Army CSF2 has been shown to help boost morale, improve health and fitness, and increase productivity in the workplace. Research by the U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine has also shown that encouraging healthy lifestyles enhances individual well-being and health, readiness, war fighting ability and work  performance.

“Positive health habits lead to a healthy workforce,” Turner said. “The stronger you are health-wise, the better you are able to lead and perform.”

A healthy, productive Army team of the future can only be built through dedicated well-being activities today.