A holistic solution to the Army’s fitness issue

The Army’s H2F (Holistic, Health and Fitness) program takes center stage in this week’s episode of The American Legion Tango Alpha Lima podcast.

H2F is “the Army’s number one priority in the human domain,” said Lt. Col. Sean Donohue, who was joined by Army veteran Alex Morrow. The program covers performance, strength and conditioning, nutrition and more for the troops.

Morrow, who now serves in the reserves, works as a civilian with H2F. Citing a similar Marine Corps program, he sees fitness and wellness initiatives becoming more common throughout DoD.

“The Marines Force Fitness Instructor program is doing some cool stuff,” he said. “H2F is the Army’s piece of a bigger DoD puzzle and the DoD calls it Force Fitness. I would argue that we are out front on this one but I am a little biased. All of the services are aware of the challenges facing them, not just in terms of physical fitness but in health and wellness. I see things like H2F spreading throughout DoD.”

As all branches are struggling with recruiting now, the hope is that H2F and similar initiatives can also be introduced to the civilian sector. That would enable future recruits to pick up healthy habits before joining the service.

“This program is a large investment in our future,” Donohue said, before referencing former President Kennedy’s emphasis on fitness. “It was a call to arms for our nation to become more fit and healthy so we can have longer and more enjoyable lives. There are some folks who feel intimated by going in the gym. We want to demystify that.”

Morrow also talked about how The American Legion can play a role in encouraging veterans to be active and healthy. That could include utilizing a program from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), engaging with other veterans service organizations and more.

“The VA’s Whole Health program is doing some cool things for veterans with access to programs,” he noted. “The community aspect is so huge to changing people’s beliefs around fitness, adding in that social element, adding in that purpose. That’s going to go a long way in making people want to participate in these programs.”

Other topics that co-hosts Ashley Gutermuth and Jeff Daly riff on include:

• Do military families need their own Bill of Rights?

• A wilderness program that helps disabled veterans find their identity, purpose and community.

• The old Air Force tape test is officially a thing of the past.

For all this and more, check out this week’s episode, which is among more than 160 Tango Alpha Lima podcasts available in both audio and video formats here. You can also download episodes on iTunes, Google Play or other major podcast-hosting sites. The video version is available at the Legion’s YouTube channel.