New Fitness Program Helps Soldiers Maximize Potential, General Says

By Navy Lt. Jennifer Cragg
Special to American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 6, 2009 - The Army's newest resiliency training, Comprehensive Soldier Fitness, is a program designed to improve the emotional and psychological fitness of soldiers and their families, the program's director said.

"Comprehensive Soldier Fitness is really a strategy that the Army is starting to use to ensure that each soldier has the opportunity to maximize his or her potential in each important aspect of their life and their health, which is not just physical, it is really part of the roadmap to arrive at 'Army Strong,'" Army Brig. Gen. (Dr.) Rhonda Cornum told "DotMilDocs" listeners April 2 on Pentagon Web Radio.

Cornum discussed the program's intent, which is to boost the resilience of soldiers and their families by increasing their physical, emotional, social, spiritual and family strengths. She said the Army has historically concentrated on the physical fitness and physical health aspect of its soldiers.

"It's a preventative measure to not get people surviving, but thriving," Cornum said. "The idea is to make them more emotionally and psychologically fit."

Cornum added that the five domains -- mental, emotional, spiritual, family strength and fitness -- don't just happen, they have to be trained.

"We recognize now that those other domains are equally important, particularly in this time when the Army really is under a lot of stress," Cornum said.

"The program will start off with assessing where you are in those five domains and developing an ... individualized training program," Cornum continued. "It will link soldiers with what [is] needed prior to any problem developing."

Resiliency training will be initiated in all training schools, she added.

"Just like being able to do more push-ups or run faster, these aptitudes can be trained and they can be practiced and perfected and everybody can be improved," Cornum explained.

The Army's strength is its diversity, she said, but noted there are areas in which the Army can help soldiers do better.

"It's like changing your diet and your exercise and your blood pressure so that you don't get heart disease; not waiting until somebody has heart disease, has a heart attack and then doing CPR," Cornum said.

(Navy Lt. Jennifer Cragg serves in the Defense Media Activity's Emerging Media directorate.)

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