Civilian fitness plan draws hundreds
GRAFENWï¿½HR, Germany ï¿½ No PT is supposed to be one of the advantages that civilians have over servicemembers stationed in Europe.
But, according to Carrie Shult of the Armyï¿½s Center for Health Promotions and Preventive Medicine in Landstuhl, hundreds of U.S. government workers sign up every six months to do physical training at work.
The civilians, from across Europe, went through a series of physical tests last month before starting a Civilian Fitness Program that allows them to do three hours of PT during work each week, Shult said.
The program, which started six years ago, draws between 500 and 800 civilians for each session, she said.
This year, it is linked to fitness programs for dependents and other community members, Shult added.
For example, soldiersï¿½ families can sign up for the Walk to Iraq and Back (also known as Operation Walk for Freedom).
With upcoming deployments to Afghanistan by the 173rd Airborne and to Iraq by the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade, Shult said officials are expecting plenty of interest in communities such as Vicenza, Italy, Bamberg and Ansbach, as well as Schweinfurt where the program is called I Ran to Afghanistan.
To make sure people involved in the fitness program are exercising when they are supposed to, they must sign in at their local fitness center or place of work before working out, and do all their exercise on-post.
Supervisors must sign off on the program, but most are eager to get employees involved in PT, Shult said.
ï¿½They are more productive employees and it increases their morale by having their command support their health,ï¿½ said Shult, adding that some participants lost 20 pounds during the six months.
Health promotions officer Tracy Svalina, who runs Grafenwï¿½hrï¿½s fitness program, said 18 people signed up there in March.
ï¿½They had their body fat measured, did a cardio recovery test, had their flexibility checked and we also looked at their waist and hip ratio,ï¿½ she said.
ï¿½Most were in very good shape. It is usually just bringing down body fat and incorporating exercise into daily life,ï¿½ said Svalina, who has signed up for another on-post fitness program ï¿½ Lose to Win ï¿½ that encourages participants to lose as much weight as possible.
The program is aimed at changing lifestyles, she said.
People can take part in the program only once. After that they are expected to work out on their own, she said.
Seven out of 10 participants in Grafenwï¿½hrï¿½s program are women.
In addition to the PT, they get a weekly newsletter about nutrition, fitness tips and stress relief, Svalina said.