Improving health and fitness across the force remains a top priority for Army leadership. Army Wellness Centers (AWC) provide programs and services that improve and sustain health, performance, and readiness of the Total Army delivered by highly trained health professionals.
The AWC at Fort Rucker provides free primary prevention programs and services that promote enhanced and sustained healthy lifestyles to improve clients’ overall well-being. “The tools and education provided by AWC give Soldiers the skills they need to maintain readiness,” explained Maj. Dorma Sanders, Chief of the Fort Rucker Department of Public Health at Lyster.
AWC is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment and a professional staff that run a variety of assessments and tests, and provide client-centered health coaching and educational classes to help create an action plan to better health and performance. The AWC approach is holistic, taking into account all of an individual's physical, psychological, and social circumstances to meet individualized goals in both health and fitness.
David Virgil, Supervisory Health Educator at the Fort Rucker Army Wellness Center explained, “One of the keys to living a healthy lifestyle is taking inventory over where we are currently. The AWC’s assessments allow clients to know where they are in their nutrition, fitness level, body fat percentage, stress, and overall lifestyle habits. Even the healthiest person might need to make some improvements. Before setting those goals, it’s important to know where you are so that plans align with where you want to be.”
Poor sleep, activity, and nutrition behaviors are associated with the top challenges to Army readiness. Personal health readiness links to appropriate sleep, activity, and nutrition. Soldiers can leverage these simple behaviors to optimize their performance.
The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic has created stressful dynamics for many people. Finding ways to reduce stress is important to one’s health. The AWC can help persons learn to better manage stress and find ways to mitigate stress triggers.
Virgil explained, “We’re currently facing unprecedented times. With so many things going on with COVID and society in general, managing how we deal with stress is imperative to our overall well-being. The key to beating this stress is by having a “toolbox” of coping strategies that we can employ at any time. The Army Wellness Center’s Individual Stress Management sessions allow us to help our clients do just that. These sessions allow us to identify our client’s current stress levels and assess what stress management techniques work best for every individual.”