REDSTONE ARSENAL, Alabama -- While not participating in regular PT like Soldiers do, Army civilians can still participate in regular exercise.

As part of the Command's wellness program, effective immediately, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command's civilian employees are encouraged to engage in physical exercise. Supervisors can approve up to three hours of administrative leave per week, not to exceed six consecutive months, to allow civilian employees to participate in the command's Civilian Fitness Program, or CFP.

"The command wants to do this for the civilian workforce because it gives them an opportunity to take care of themselves," said Sarah Green, USASMDC/ARSTRAT senior ethics attorney. "If they don't take care of themselves they never know where that can go. We allow Soldiers time to do PT, and civilians across the Department of Defense are allowed to do this, so leaders wanted to allow civilians within the command to have the same opportunities.

"The commanding general asked me if we had a civilian fitness program and he was very interested in it," she added.

Examples of acceptable activities include jogging, cycling, swimming, rowing, stair climbing, weight training, resistive bands, pushups, planks, situps, stretching, etc. Activities that do not qualify include golf and other sporting events that do not significantly improve the health-related components of fitness.

While formal physical fitness programs may be repeated from time to time, employees will not normally be granted excused absence for physical exercise training once they have already received such training through the six month CFP.

"If you want to make our civilian employees resilient, one big thing is personal health," Green said. "The program will benefit the civilian workforce because they will be healthier, they will be happier and it improves their performance at work, but more importantly it improves their personal life."

Participation in the program is limited to full-time and part-time federal civilian employees and is contingent upon supervisory approval and subject to workload or mission requirements.

"If we want to stress resiliency, then we need to stress personal fitness as well as emotional fitness and everything that goes along with it," Green said. "With the lifestyle people have now, they don't have time before work or after work to do it. If we give them an hour during the day, three days a week, the overall fitness of our employees will improve, their morale will improve and they will just feel good about themselves. And that goes a long way."

For more information, contact Green at (256) 955-4521 or email her at sarah.s.green2.civ@mail.mil.