Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

COVID-19 presents challenges to heart health, physical fitness

Image of Four military personnel, wearing masks, running on a track. U.S. Coast Guard recruits from company Romeo-199 participate in a Jan. 8 run program on the track at U.S. Coast Guard Training Center in Cape May, New Jersey, as part of their modified training schedule due to COVID-19 restrictions. (Photo by Navy Seaman Josalyn Brown.)

Recommended Content:

Heart Health Toolkit | Heart Health Toolkit | Heart Health Toolkit | Coronavirus | Total Force Fitness | Physical Fitness | Heart Health

A healthy heart is a prerequisite for a fully trained combatant or a fit beneficiary. Without a healthy heart, a soldier cannot expect to complete tasks such as loading 155 mm rounds onto a bustle rack, or a beneficiary may huff and puff going up stairs.

"A heart at rest stays at rest, while a heart in motion stays in motion, to paraphrase the old axiom," said Navy Lt. Cmdr. (Dr.) Olamide Oladipo, chief of cardiology at the Navy Medical Center-San Diego (NMC-SD).

Due to on-again, off-againshutdowns resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, the overall health of both military personnel and beneficiaries has taken a hit over the last year, he noted. A more sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and, therefore, death.

One way the military is addressing this issue is through the Aging Warrior study, which intends to look at cardiovascular risks in men 40 and older and women 52–55 with one risk factor for cardiac disease, such as hypertension, Oladipo explained. Following a CT scan, study participants will receive preventative medication or other interventions if they show early signs of cardiac atherosclerosis (a narrowing or blockage of the heart vessels).

As to fitness, NMC-SD has “adopted more of a holistic approach; we treat the whole person” among active-duty personnel and beneficiaries, said Melissa Palacios, a nurse and head of the Health and Wellness Department at NMC-SD’s Naval Medical Readiness Training Command. “We’re looking at concomitant diagnoses that affect a person’s heart health,” such as diabetes, sleep apnea, obesity, stress, PTSD.

“We do this though more virtual classes, group-based exercise programming, fitness trackers and apps that help with heart rate monitoring, food intake, medication, and sleep hygiene, for example,” she said, also noting the negative impact COVID-19 has had on the base’s effectiveness in physical training and meeting beneficiaries’ fitness needs.

“Getting moving can have a profound impact on lowering blood pressure, strengthening muscles, controlling weight, lowering stress, and reducing inflammation, therefore decreasing risk for heart disease,” Palacios said. “We encourage our active-duty members and beneficiaries to not only participate in aerobic activities such a swimming, dancing, cycling, brisk walking or cycling but also in identifying opportunities in their everyday lives to intentionally become more physically active such as taking the stairs.”

The ideas behind fitness training also have changed in the Army. At Ft. Leonard Wood in Missouri, unit physical training “used to be very focused on the Army Physical Fitness Test events (pushups, sit-ups, and running),” said Army Maj. Brett Dougherty, director, Physical Performance Service Line, General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital. “However, over the last few years, that focus has slowly changed to incorporate more resistance training, specifically functional lifting, and that change accelerated with the introduction of the Army Combat Fitness Test that looks at the body more functionally.”

Functional lifting are exercises that help troops perform everyday activities more easily, such as changing heavy tires.

The Army follows the October 2020 FM 7-22 guidance on fitness and physical performance, which includes five domains of combat physical fitness: muscular strength, muscular endurance, aerobic endurance, explosive power, and anaerobic endurance. The guidance lays out exercises, stretches, progressions, and sample schedules of how to train for Army fitness tests and overall fitness. It includes aerobic exercise, strength and resistance training, agility, flexibility, and balance.

FM 7-22 also gives guidance on nutrition, sleep hygiene, mental wellness, and the overall well-being of soldiers, all factors integral to overall heart health.

Physical fitness is therefore much more than laps run, push-ups done, crunches crunched. It’s a holistic framework of both physical and mental fitness that means being able to exercise while avoiding injury and enjoying a longer life span. And, when it comes to physical fitness, a healthy heart is paramount.

You also may be interested in...

When we “Break Bread," we build social bonds

Article
3/25/2021
Picture of military personnel sitting at a table eating food together

Eating socially has been shown to influence happiness and life satisfaction; specifically participating in evening meals with more people.

Recommended Content:

Total Force Fitness | Nutritional Fitness

Eight nations participate in West African virtual pandemic exercise

Article
3/24/2021
Picture of military personnel wearing a face mask looking at a laptop computer

Medical experts from six African nations, the United Kingdom and the United States, participated in a Virtual Pandemic Preparation and Response Engagement exercise.

Recommended Content:

MHS Toolkits and Branding Guidance | Coronavirus | Global Health Engagement | Partners

Army dietitian uses nutritional care to fight COVID-19

Article
3/23/2021
Military personnel wearing a face mask standing in front of a Nutrition Clinic

Army dietician plays a critical role in COVID-19 patient recovery.

Recommended Content:

Nutritional Fitness | Total Force Fitness | Coronavirus

The COVID-19 pandemic, one year later in the DOD

Article
3/22/2021
A photo of a hospital ship

Timeline of events as the COVID-19 pandemic took over 2020.

Recommended Content:

MHS Toolkits and Branding Guidance | MHS Toolkits and Branding Guidance | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine

Army Wounded Warrior perseveres despite COVID-19

Article
3/19/2021
Picture of military personnel wearing a face mask and shooting a bow and arrow

Army Wounded Warrior preserves through COVID-19 pandemic through continued physical activities.

Recommended Content:

Warrior Care | Coronavirus | MHS Toolkits and Branding Guidance | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine

METC trains dietician techs to build, support a Medically Ready Force

Article
3/18/2021
Military health personnel preparing food trays while wearing a face mask

Nutrition plays an important role in military readiness.

Recommended Content:

Nutritional Fitness | Total Force Fitness | Health Readiness

Specialized team assists Navajo Nation COVID-19 response

Article
3/16/2021
Military personnel wearing face mask posing for a picture

An RRRT is a small team comprised of specialized individuals that can be deployed to rural locations of the country.

Recommended Content:

MHS Toolkits and Branding Guidance | Coronavirus

Army Reserve nurse assists with Federal COVID response in Arizona

Article
3/15/2021
Military personnel posing for a picture while driving a truck

Celeski brought experience in COVID-19 care from her civilian position as a registered nurse with the Veterans Affairs medical system in San Antonio.

Recommended Content:

MHS Toolkits and Branding Guidance | MHS Toolkits and Branding Guidance | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Nursing in the Military Health System

Naval Air Facility El Centro administers COVID-19 vaccine

Article
3/12/2021
Military health personnel administering the COVID-19 vaccine

Sailors and select Department of Defense civilians at Naval Air Facility EL Centro in California began receiving their COVID-19 vaccines in early March.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Considerations | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | MHS Toolkits and Branding Guidance | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine

NMRTC Bremerton nurse supports the COVID-19 vaccine effort

Article
3/12/2021
Military health personnel wearing a face mask posing for a picture

Bremerton nurse oversees several hundred beneficiaries given their initial dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | MHS Toolkits and Branding Guidance

Q&A: Are COVID-19 Vaccines Safe and Effective?

Article
3/11/2021
Military health personnel wearing a face mask and a face shield administering the COVID-19 vaccine

Military Health System provides answers to COVID-19 vaccine questions.

Recommended Content:

MHS Toolkits and Branding Guidance | MHS Toolkits and Branding Guidance | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine

Get the COVID-19 vaccine you can and get it now, Fauci and Place say

Article
3/11/2021
Image of military personnel wearing a face mask receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. Click to open a larger version of the image.

Get the COVID-19 vaccine, whichever you can, as soon as you can is the message from Dr. Fauci and DHA chief Dr. Place

Recommended Content:

MHS Toolkits and Branding Guidance | MHS Toolkits and Branding Guidance | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine

MHS GENESIS MassVax System Rolling Out with COVID-19 Vaccines

Article
3/9/2021
Military personnel wearing face mask sitting in a line waiting for their COVID-19 vaccine

The new MHS GENESIS MassVax record-keeping tool is expediting and simplifying the process of COVID-19 vaccinations across the DOD

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Electronic Health Record: MHS GENESIS | MHS GENESIS Toolkit | Health Innovation Toolkit

DOD identifies more troops to help administer COVID-19 vaccine

Article
3/9/2021
Military personnel wearing a face mask filling up syringes with the COVID-19 vaccine

The DHA supports the DoD's administering COVID-19 vaccinations at community vaccination centers around the country.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | MHS Toolkits and Branding Guidance | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine

WWII soldier and his wife receive COVID-19 vaccine

Article
3/5/2021
Military personnel wearing a mask, giving the COVID-19 vaccine to a veteran wearing a mask

Beck’s arrival signals a new phase of Fort Carson’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts for TRICARE beneficiaries 75 and older.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine
<< < ... 6 7 8 9 10  ... > >> 
Showing results 136 - 150 Page 10 of 25
Refine your search
Last Updated: April 28, 2021

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.