Group of people riding bicycles

Physical Activity Initiatives, Promising Practices, Tools and Resources

A fit and healthy fighting force is the foundation of a strong national defense. In the United States, poor nutrition, obesity, lack of physical fitness and tobacco use pose a growing threat to the military’s four “Rs”: recruitment, retention, readiness and resilience. To address these threats, the Department of Defense launched a Healthy Base Initiative to make healthy living the easy choice for service members and their families. The military supports programs that protect the well-being of our military families, including:

Initiatives

  • 24-Hour Fitness - These satellite fitness centers are located on installations with limited equipment and are open 24/7 with common access card accessibility.
  • Fitness on Request - This initiative offers a wide array of fitness class options and the ability to exercise in a group setting at any time.
  • Bike Share - Service members, employees, contractors and visitors can use the provided, specially-marked bicycles found in convenient locations around the installation.
  • StairWELL to Health - Information and opportunities for incorporating physical activity into daily routines can help improve the overall health of the population.
  • Warrior Well - This program improves and sustains the resilience of service members and their families through positive behavior change.

Promising Practices

Leadership-driven fitness initiative - Officers and leadership lead fitness initiatives in the Coast Guard and at Fort Sill, where it is known as the Commanders Fitness Challenge.

Comparison of weight remediation programs across the services - Best practices and evaluation are derived from active-duty weight-remediation programs including:

High Intensity Tactical Training and Aquatic Maximum Power Intensive Training - High Intensity Tactical Training, or HITT, improves combat readiness while reducing the likelihood of injury through physical fitness training and nutritional guidelines. The aquatics-based fitness alternative, AMP-IT, is an aquatics-based fitness alternative for individuals requiring a challenging but low-impact alternative to HITT training or physical training.

Value of embedded physical training leaders - This high-impact program embeds expert training leaders with command groups to lead and improve physical training.

Adult sports program - This intramural sports program is specifically designed for adults led by the Coast Guard with excellent participation rates and a wide range of activity and involvement.

Tools

Initiative Program Fidelity Tool template - Program Fidelity Tools are short, checklist-style surveys tailored to each program implemented under the Healthy Base Initiative. The surveys assess fidelity on a semi-annual basis, as appropriate to the specific program, based on the intervention's HBI start date.

Resources

Human Performance Resource Center - The center's human performance optimization website is for U.S. warfighters, their families and those who support them. The goal is total force fitness: warfighters optimized to carry out their mission as safely and effectively as possible.

The President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition - The president's council engages, educates, and empowers all Americans to adopt healthy lifestyles, including regular physical activity and good nutrition. The council is made up of athletes, chefs, physicians, fitness professionals and educators who are appointed by the president to serve in an advisory capacity through the secretary of health and human services.