Space Force Takes a Holistic Approach to Fitness | Federal News Network

The Space Force wants potential recruits to know that they don’t have to be strength and fitness models to be Guardians, they just need a healthy lifestyle. A new fitness tracking program offers guardians an alternative to traditional military fitness tests.

The need for brains rather than brawn drives the calculus behind the fitness program. Space Force leaders want to open the door for recruits who might otherwise be reluctant to join theā€¦

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The Space Force wants potential recruits to know that they don’t have to be strength and fitness models to be Guardians, they just need a healthy lifestyle. A new fitness tracking program offers guardians an alternative to traditional military fitness tests.

The need for brains rather than brawn drives the calculus behind the fitness program. Space Force leaders want to open the door for recruits who might otherwise be reluctant to join the military. Guardians have the opportunity to volunteer for the two-year testing program which takes a holistic approach to fitness as an alternative to testing in the form of activities such as push-ups and running.

The way they serve is different. And it’s often enabled by computers and technology. We don’t have to have exactly the same talent management process, the same membership process, and the same physical testing process, said Alex Wagner, Air Force assistant secretary for manpower and reserve affairs.

The testing program will examine health and fitness for service members in a new way that is expected to be more inclusive of different body types and different fitness levels.

Instead of preparing once or twice a year to take a PT test and make sure your height, weight and body are within what was normal, we would have the option of continuous fitness tracking, he said Wagner at a Center for a New American Security national security conference on Tuesday. Those people who are not necessarily required to meet a certain physical standard to do that job would still be allowed to do so [be part of] a healthy force.

The holistic health approach has three parts. Performance Health Optimization emphasizes nutritional orientation, physical activity, sleep hygiene and stress management as well as avoiding harmful substances. Includes the Air Force Body Composition Standards, which measure body fat distribution based on height and weight.

The education portion of the program works to increase positive behaviors and build on Wardens’ existing military education for prevention skill development.

A final part of the program is an ongoing suitability assessment study to be conducted by the Air Force Research Laboratory. Part of the mission is to understand whether wearable fitness devices are an effective means of measuring fitness and readiness, including cardiorespiratory/muscular fitness and risk of musculoskeletal injury.

The wearable fitness device measures activity and other biometric data. A written statement from the Space Force says that care will be taken to protect the privacy of data captured by devices. Users should only use the device while exercising and have the option to turn off GPS.

The data imported by the wearable device manufacturer will be limited to the fitness data required for the program and will be stored in a system that has been evaluated for cybersecurity compliance and has been granted authority to operate, the statement said.

The program will be managed by Guardian Resiliency teams at each Space Force base, as well as a virtual team for Guardians in remote locations. Resilience teams include a strength coach, mental health provider, and physical therapists, among other specialists.

The two-year testing program will be on a strictly voluntary basis and Space Force leaders want it to provide an incentive for those potential recruits who have technical skills but would prefer a different approach to fitness.

We need to be able to get a different kind of person who was inclined to serve but might consider themselves not really willing to do the stereotypical military model, Wagner said.


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