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Edition: Wed, January 07, 2009
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TODAY'S FOCUS

Army Physical Fitness Research Institute Opening at Fort Leavenworth

What is it?

On Jan. 7, 2009, the Army Physical Fitness Research Institute (APFRI) will open the doors to its new satellite facility at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. APFRI is the Army's center for leader education in health and fitness through research, education and outreach.

In 1982, the commander of Training and Doctrine Command directed the establishment of APFRI in Carlisle, Pa., to develop a comprehensive health and fitness program for senior officers studying at the Army War College. A key focus was to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. In 2006, Gen. William Wallace, commanding general, TRADOC, directed APFRI to expand their program to the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy. Through the years, the APFRI leader education programs evolved to address the complex interplay of leadership, health and fitness as a component of professional military education.

What has the Army done?

The Army has expanded the APFRI program to focus on the more than 1,200 mid-grade officers attending the Command and General Staff College annually, as well as the staff and faculty of CGSC. APFRI has also opened its services to the family members of Soldiers in order to increase awareness and to allow families as a whole to implement healthy lifestyle changes.

Why is this important to the Army?

The Army is well known for its demanding and rigorous physical training, culminating semi-annually in a physical fitness test for all of its Soldiers. In the past, mid to upper level leaders have maintained the fitness level specified in the APFT, but have not necessarily focused on the "Formula for Fitness." This formula focuses on linking leader development with an enhanced understanding of how nutrition, aerobic conditioning and strength training combine in relation to disease prevention and body composition, enhancing both endurance and resiliency for our leaders. The stress and challenges of leadership can lead to increased blood pressure and high cholesterol which could develop into more serious conditions like strokes or heart attacks.

The APFRI education process begins with an in-depth analysis of the individual's level of fitness and health, along with identified risk factors. The personalized and comprehensive assessment becomes the foundation for learning how to "reset" and "balance the Soldier" while reducing their risk for life-threatening illnesses. Leaders then take these lessons to teach, coach, and mentor their subordinate leaders into developing a new and healthier force.

Resources:

Army Physical Fitness Research Institute

United States Army Combined Arms Center Web site

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