Physical activity could have prevented the Army’s reported 10 million limited duty days due to musculoskeletal injury while in theater during Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. During this timeframe musculoskeletal injury was deemed the leading cause for medical evacuation and the second leading cause for hospitalization.
“Musculoskeletal injury has a large potential implication on unit readiness,” said former McAfee Chief Nurse Maj. Michael Wissemann. “That’s why it’s essential for good unit leaders to balance running with strength training and core exercise.”
The Army is doing its part to help improve the way their Soldiers are trained before and during a deployment. Master Fitness Trainers will now serve as advisors for unit commanders to help create a standardized physical training routine.
“Much of what we do in a deployed environment is not tied to a two mile run,” Wissemann said. “We’re hoisted up on walls which focus a lot on core body strength.”
According to the Army website, less than half of U.S. adults and children over the age of six do not perform any form of moderate physical activity. The Department of Health and Human Services Guideline recommends children exercise for at least 60 minutes a week. Adults should exercise a minimum of 150 minutes per week to stay healthy. Wissemann recommends walking 10,000 steps a day.
The Army Health Promotion Regulation 600-63 allows supervisors to approve up to three hours of administrative leave a week for employees to participate in command-sponsored physical activities. When activities like these are not available, Wissemann recommends activities as simple as getting up out of your chair for a short walk around the office. According to Performance Triad literature, prolonged sitting can increase the risk of health risks like blood clots and diabetes. Aside from reducing health risks, remaining active also promotes a healthy digestive system.
“If I made it a point to get up 10 minutes every hour it’ll help my metabolism to get going again,” Wissemann said.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a set of activities for moderate to vigorous workouts. The most moderate set asks individuals to exercise a total of 30 minutes a day during the week and two strength training exercises. The activities could be anything from ballroom dancing to general gardening. For children, the CDC recommends three days of muscle and bone strengthening activities or walking anywhere from 11,000 to 13,000 steps.
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