Fort Drum soldiers have new approach to physical fitness

Published: Jul. 13, 2022 at 5:20 PM EDT
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FORT DRUM, New York (WWNY) - Introduced at the tail end of 2020, H2F, also known as Holistic Health and Fitness, is the Army’s latest effort to improve the overall physical readiness of its soldiers.

On Fort Drum, the program is housed in a gym that has been affectionately dubbed “the owl’s den”.

“It’s been great. It’s a super family-oriented culture. Soon as I came in from day 1. Super welcoming. Everyone here is great,” said Sgt. Ben Yandell, Alpha Company 110.

The motto of the 10th Mountain Division is Climb to Glory and at the H2f owl den, they’re taking that quite literally.

What sets H2F apart is the Holistic approach, which focuses on caring equally for all aspects of health to improve overall physical fitness.

“That confidence and that better sleep and that better nutrition and the better lower stress levels that the soldier feels always equates to better performance,” said Mark Taysom, program director.

H2F is split into 5 categories known as domains. Mental, physical, spiritual, nutritional, and sleep. The program makes use of at least one expert from each field.

“I’ll say here’s your fitness plan to make ranger school, let’s say. But then here’s the dietician who’s going to speak to you about how to plan a meal plan that will also help you to achieve ranger school. Then we’ll take you to the athletic trainer to deal with injuries that you may have,” said Taysom.

He says a secondary goal is eliminating the view that exercise is a punishment.

“Teaching the soldiers to take care of and value their body rather than seeking to beat it into submission is a fundamental change of culture that needs to happen,” he said.

The program has also been employed at Forts Bragg, Bliss, and Lewis. Now there are plans to implement it nationally in the coming years.

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