Francis Alvarado of Fort Meade has fun working up a sweat during a Zumba class at Gaffney Fitness Center. Civilian employees are encouraged to participate in a six-month pilot study, which begins on Oct. 1, for the Civilian Wellness and Civilian Fitness Program. (File photo)

FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. (Sept. 20, 2012) -- On Oct. 1, Installation Management Command will begin a six-month pilot study to determine whether a case can be made to extend an exercise program for civilian employees on an ongoing basis.

The Civilian Wellness and Civilian Fitness Program allows civilian employees, with the approval of their supervisor, to take one hour, three days a week away from work to engage in an exercise/fitness program.

Army Regulation 600-63, Army Health Promotion, which became effective in May 2007, states that a civilian employee can only participate in the program once in their career for a maximum of six months.

The six-month pilot, which is being implemented at installations Armywide, will gather data to support a business case proposal to change the Army regulation to extend the program's length. The pilot study ends April 30.

Wendy Messick, director of the Directorate of Human Resources, is Fort Meade's wellness program coordinator.

"Fitness and wellness is a lifelong process," Messick said. "IMCOM is trying to get the statistics to support the change."

Garrison directors have application packets for civilian employees who want to participate in the pilot program. The application includes a wellness contract between the employee and supervisor that allows the employee to commit one hour, three days a week to exercise.

Participants must sign a release waiver of liability and complete a personal readiness assessment to determine whether they need a doctor's approval to be in the program. An approval form for a physician also is included in the packet. Participants must complete a required assessment of their height, weight, blood pressure and resting heart rate at the start of the program and at the 90- and 180-day mark.

All application packets must be submitted to Messick before Sept. 30. Messick will then approve employees who can participate in the pilot study.

The pilot program will operate on an honor system. As participants submit the required data, Messick will update their progress and send a final report to IMCOM at the end of the program.

Col. Bert Rice, director of Transformation, participated in the Civilian Wellness and Civilian Fitness Program for six months two years ago.

"I have always been active in some type of fitness program," Rice said. "Physical fitness has been a part of my lifestyle for many, many years."

Rice said he thinks the program should be an ongoing. "I think more employees would participate if they knew that the fitness program would continue without interruption."

Rice plans to apply for the pilot program.

Messick said Garrison Commander Col. Edward C. Rothstein supports the installation's wellness efforts and added that plans to bring a resiliency center to Fort Meade are in line with the goals of the Civilian Wellness and Civilian Fitness Program.

"This is an opportunity for us to ensure a healthy lifestyle for every employee," Messick said.

For more information about the Civilian Wellness and Civilian Fitness Program, contact your garrison leadership.

Page last updated Thu September 20th, 2012 at 00:00