The Performance Triad is a comprehensive initiative that is designed to help Soldiers balance and sustain health through three main components: physical activity, nutrition, and sleep. The Performance Triad targets these components because they interact to influence performance and health in our U.S. Soldiers.
Optimal sleep is critical to mission success. In training and on the battlefield, inadequate sleep impairs essential abilities such as reaction times, the ability to detect and engage the enemy, and squad tactic coordination. When interviewed about the connections between sleep and mission readiness, Soldiers and military leaders consistently associated lack of sleep with accidents, poor morale, and impaired judgment. However, despite mission degradation resulting from sleepiness, a culture of suboptimal sleep and a perception that lack of sleep is “the Army way” prevails in the force. Consider attending a healthy sleep habits class offered by Army Wellness Center (AWC) for tips on achieving adequate sleep.
Physical fitness and activity are crucial to ensuring Soldiers are able to perform the duties and responsibilities of their jobs. Practicing principles of safe and effective training enables Soldiers to maintain physical readiness and health. Soldiers and leaders across the Army agree that activity and fitness are essential to being a strong warfighter. Although Soldiers are generally more physically active than civilians, they are frequently at risk for overtraining and resulting injuries. Profiles and Army Physical Fitness Test failures are both associated with medical non-deployability. Despite obtaining some activity through structured unit physical readiness training, many Soldiers are sedentary over the course of the day, which can lead to adverse health outcomes over time. Engage in physical activity, stretching, strength training or yoga with family, friends and/or significant others. Making it part of socializing enhances the likeliness of compliance and is one more step towards decreasing risks of injury and disease.
Eating or fueling for performance enables Soldier training, increases energy and endurance, shortens recovery time between activities, improves focus and concentration, and helps leaders and Soldiers look and feel better. Although Soldiers and leaders frequently understand the connections between nutrition and mission readiness, they also cite numerous barriers to obtaining optimal nutrition. These barriers include lack of access to healthy foods, time constraints arising from working through meals or working late, monetary constraints, and low motivation to make healthy choices. Specifically, when interviewed on what affects their nutrition, many Soldiers cited military dining facility hours, cost, location, and limited healthy options as barriers to making the healthy choice. Others indicated the prevalence of unhealthy on-base fast food options detracted from their ability and motivation to make optimal food selections. Be creative in your choices for food. Fruit, vegetable and protein snacks along with healthy meals promote improved well-being and energy.
Where to begin to sustain a healthy lifestyle….
Consider keeping a journal of your sleep, activity & nutritional intake for three days. You might be surprised what you see on the journal!!! Start out by identifying what your individual needs are vs those of world around you….do you need more sleep, a means to improve your nutritional intake, opportunities to increase your activity level…is the desk job minimizing your ability to get physical activity? A healthy lifestyle is often best achieved in a supportive fun climate & cadre
If you need to:
Consider accessing Army H.E.A.L.T.H. This site can provide you with the tools you need to meet your healthy lifestyle goals. This site works in conjunction with the Triad to offer custom nutrition, fitness, and lifestyle change plans (including sleep, stress reduction, and mind & body balance) specifically designed for military personnel, their family members, and retirees. Included here are health blogs, tips & tweets for eating & various recipes. Consider it your lifestyle training headquarters. FMI see https://myarmyhealth.org/
Are you finding it difficult to make or sustain changes on your own? Another option is Triangles. Form a group and bring your buddy to one of these are small groups to meet regularly and support each other in their health journey. Together, they learn how to make small changes in their daily behavior that add up to big changes in their health and the health of their families.
Perhaps you’d prefer one on one guidance for healthy living choices….. consider meeting with a health coach at the Army Wellness Center. These skilled personnel assist clients to bridge the gap between their current state versus that of their desired state by making small behavior changes that will enable them to succeed. The health coach guides clients through their wellness journey by goals setting as well as providing support and encouragement towards overcoming barriers.
For more information visit https://p3.amedd.army.mil or call Preventive Medicine/Health Promotion 804-734-9304 or the Army Wellness Center at 804-734-9925.
Monday - Friday
7 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Kenner Army Health Clinic
700 24th Street,
Fort Lee, Va 23801