It is well established that members of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard are much more vulnerable to serious injuries than any civilian worker. Though members of the U.S. Military understand the risks that come with enlisting, there are certainly strategies that can be employed to reduce vulnerability to severe injuries sustained in both combat and non-combat environments.
H2F, the new holistic health fitness program of The U.S. Army, is a great example of how the different branches of the military can implement programs aimed at improving the health, safety, and wellbeing of the military personnel. While the physical fitness test (PFT) standards outlined in the preceding parts of this five-part series certainly help to ensure that only the most physically fit individuals are admitted into the armed forces, the holistic health and fitness U.S. Army program goes beyond the PFT standards.
Below, we explain the specifics of the H2F U.S. Army health and fitness program, and describe how it can help to reduce injury statistics for military members.
What Is H2F?
H2F stands for Holistic Health and Fitness. According to the 2019 Holistic Health and Fitness (H2F) Industry Day and Exposition:
“H2F is a comprehensive, integrated, and immersive health and fitness system that generates lethal soldiers who are physically, mentally, and spiritually ready to engage with and overmatch the enemy in multi-domain operations. The system accomplishes this by addressing the physical and non-physical components of fitness through performance professionals, programs, facilities, equipment, and education. H2F improves both individual soldier readiness and unit cohesion by enhancing unit integrity.”
The Army understands that having its members in optimal physical fitness levels offers tactical, practical, and even economic benefits. In 2019, musculoskeletal injuries to U.S. soldiers cost the Army more than 8 million duty days that year. “The knee injuries, back problems and other woes far outpace any other reasons for lost duty -- they add up to five times the days lost to pregnancy and maternity leave, for example,” according to Military.com.
The Holistic Health and Fitness Program, then, aims to reduce these lost days while simultaneously increasing the combat effectiveness of the soldier. The H2F Program has several different elements aimed at improving the health of Army personnel. “Smart” training equipment, performance assessment and data analysis, physical equipment and storage solutions, cognitive enhancement, injury prevention and mitigation, and nutrition/dietetics all factor into the H2F program.
According to a presentation by the U.S. Army:
“The Holistic Health and Fitness (H2F) System is the Army's primary investment in Soldier readiness and lethality, optimal physical and non-physical performance, reduced injury rates, improved rehabilitation after injury, and increased overall effectiveness of the Total Army. The system empowers and equips Soldiers to take charge of their health, fitness, and wellbeing in order to optimize individual performance, while preventing injury and disease.”
How H2F’s Holistic Wellness Approach Reduces Injury Rates
One out of every twenty U.S. Army soldiers does not pass the Army Physical Fitness Test. In practical terms, these soldiers are much more likely to be considered medically non-deployable. Thus, a lack of optimal physical fitness can effectively reduce the combat-ready soldier base by a significant percentage. Furthermore, over 53 percent of Army soldiers reported a new musculoskeletal injury on a year by year basis. The frequency of these MSD injuries reduces the availability of soldiers.
The H2F system engages the health and wellbeing of Army personnel in a holistic manner. The program not only focuses on physical fitness and preparation, but also on mental wellbeing. The program specifically encourages Army members to cultivate adaptive, non-physical, self-regulatory behaviors that improve health indicators. These behaviors or habits include proper sleep cycles, nutrition, and spirituality.
H2F & Work-Fit: Holistic Wellness Programs For The Military
While holistic wellness programs may be a new concept for the military, they’re certainly not new for us at Work-Fit.
We’re a leading provider of onsite injury prevention and management for all different types of work environments, from offices to factories to the US Military.
Our trained and certified healthcare professionals have decades of experience applying the leading sports medicine techniques in a wide variety of settings with the common goal being to cultivate a culture of workplace wellness and prevention, through building awareness and focus.
Our expertise in wellness management, injury prevention, ergonomics, and injury management is essential to reducing the risks and costs of injury from the extreme physical requirements of military recruits and personnel. Contact Work-Fit today to get started creating a custom holistic health initiative for your team, whether in the boardroom or on the battlefield.