The Bayonet

Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014

Performance Triad encourages extra steps

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Despite long hours at the office, Fort Benning health experts say getting off your seat frequently can make a difference in improving daily fitness.

As one of the core elements of the Performance Triad program, the U.S. Army Medical Command hopes to boost optimal performance for Soldiers, civilians and Families at work and home through proper sleep, nutrition and physical activity in support of the Ready and Resilient Campaign.

Lt. Col. John Melton, chief of staff for Martin Army Community Hospital and action officer for the hospital’s Performance Triad, said leaders are taking a closer look at how Soldiers manage their time and effort to decrease stress and maintain balanced work and rest cycles. Incorporating more activity throughout the day is one way to create balance, he said.

“We’ve condensed all of our physical activity into to one hour of the day, but we should be active all day,” he said.

According to the Performance Triad website, prolonged sitting increases the risk of blood clots, diabetes, heart disease, cancer and obesity.

Regular movement increases blood flow, burns calories and helps to maintain a healthy weight. It is recommended to get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week, but including at least 10 minutes of every hour.

1st Lt. Amanda Vaughan, a clinical dietitian for Martin Army Community Hospital, works with Soldiers and Families who are at risk of heart and obesity-related illnesses to create nutrition and exercise plans based on goals and current activities. She said many physical training and workout sessions do not meet the amount of recommended daily activity.

Vaughan said in addition to daily workouts, scheduling times to walk throughout the day when possible should replace sitting for hours at a desk or on the couch. Army Medicine recommends taking 10,000 steps a day, the equivalent to about five miles, and use a pedometer, online step tracking program or phone app.

“On the weekends or during times when you’re not a work, you can do something outside and to keep moving,” she said.

Melton said optimizing your metabolism for 30 minutes a day, five days a week is key. Walking in place while watching television or after a meal has become an everyday routine for his Family. Visiting a physician or primary health-care provider before starting any new fitness routine is recommended, he said.

“It may seem odd at first, but overtime it will become a habit,” Melton said. “If you walk in place every time you watch TV, you can meet the daily criteria. We believe those steps can impact Soldier individual performance and drive overall operational performance.”

Editor’s note: This is the final article in a series on three essential components of the Army’s Performance Triad for health and wellness — sleep, nutrition and activity. To learn more about the Performance Triad, visit

Improving your health at work

Staying active at work

Burn calories at work. Make office exercise a part of your daily routine by adding active activities or 10-minute “exercise blasts” to your office routine. Multiple increments of exercise can add up to the 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day that is recommended for health benefits.

• Look for opportunities to stand or move. Stand up while talking on the phone or walk to other offices instead of local emails and phone calls.

• Organize a walking group or schedule walking meetings. Do laps inside your building or take your walking meetings outdoors.

• Take a one-minute “cardio burst” to march or jog in place, do jumping jacks, simulate jumping rope, or walk up and down the stairs.

• Turn breaks into a short fitness routine. Store resistance bands or small hand weights in a desk drawer. Try these exercises:

Arm curls. Hold weights at your sides, palms facing upward, bend your elbows, bring your hands up. Keep your arms by your side, lower your hands slowly and repeat.

Side leg lifts. Stand straight and lightly brace yourself on a desk. Tighten your abdominal muscles and the muscles on your outer thigh. Raise your leg to the side, knee straight, foot flexed. Do 12 repetitions, and then repeat with the other leg.

Oblique crunches. Sit up straight in a chair; clasp your arms behind your head with your elbows back. Tighten your abs as you bring your opposite knee up toward your opposite elbow. Alternate sides.

Quad lifts. Sit in a chair with your abs contracted, extend your leg with your foot up, knee straight. Raise your thigh off the chair, lower and repeat. Alternate legs.

Stretch more at work

For people whose jobs require them to sit for long hours, taking a few minutes to stretch can relieve stress, increase productivity and make you feel better. Fit these stretches, along with relaxed breathing, into your schedule.

Neck stretches. Close your eyes. Let your chin drop down to your chest until you feel a stretch along the back of your neck. Slowly bring your shoulders up toward your ears, and then relax them down. Take the right ear to the right shoulder, then roll your head forward and then the left ear to the left shoulder. Keep the shoulders relaxed and do not hurry. Take three to five rolls and then switch directions for another five rolls.

Back stretch. Place both feet flat on the floor. Bring your hands onto your knees. On an inhale, arch the back and look up toward the ceiling. On the exhale, round the spine and let your head drop forward. Repeat for five breaths.

Seated forward bend. Push your chair back from your desk. Bring both feet flat on the floor. Interlace your fingers behind your back. Straighten your arms, drawing the interlaced fingers down. Fold at the waist, bringing your interlaced hands over your back. Rest your chest on your thighs and release your neck.

Seated spinal twist. Sit sideways in your chair, feet flat on the floor. Twist towards the back of the chair, holding the back with both hands. Repeat the other way.


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