Coast Guard physical fitness policy update

From ALCOAST 079/15:

 

Candidates completing their phsyical screening test to accompanty their application to the Coast Guard's dive program begin their timed 500-yard swim at the Portsmouth Naval Medical Center Pool, Friday, March 14, 2014. The Coast Guard is soliciting volunteers to apply for the service's new dive program and members must include their results from the physical screening test with their application in order to be considered for the program. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Brandyn Hill.

Candidates completing their phsyical screening test to accompanty their application to the Coast Guard’s dive program begin their timed 500-yard swim at the Portsmouth Naval Medical Center Pool, Friday, March 14, 2014. The Coast Guard is soliciting volunteers to apply for the service’s new dive program and members must include their results from the physical screening test with their application in order to be considered for the program. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Brandyn Hill.

 

Maintaining a fit and healthy workforce is vital to mission readiness. A physically fit member has a greater chance of successfully meeting operational requirements, coping with stress, avoiding injuries, and achieving a healthy and satisfying life. The Coast Guard has initiated several studies over the past two years to examine workforce fitness and health. Results indicate that participating in a safe and consistent physical exercise program is the main factor and best course of action to achieve improved fitness.

As such, all Coast Guard members shall adhere to existing Health Promotion policy that requires submission of a Personal Fitness Plan, and 180 minutes per week of dedicated physical fitness activity. The 180 minutes is a minimum requirement authorized during working hours, workload and operations permitting. Members should also take advantage of existing resources within the Coast Guard, such as health coaching services through CG SUPRT and regional health promotion managers for individual fitness and lifestyle improvements. Additionally, physical fitness testing will continue to be mandated for specific operational units e.g., Boat Forces, Deployable Special Forces etc., but will not be implemented Coast Guard-wide.

 

James Schena, a physical fitness instructor at U.S. Coast Guard Training Center Cape May, instructs recruits in the proper way to ride a stationary bike, Sept. 10, 2014. The training center recently purchased 95 Lifecycle GX indoor bikes, which are more compatible with interval training and will reduce the amount of maintenance required to keep them operational. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Warrant Officer John Edwards.

James Schena, a physical fitness instructor at U.S. Coast Guard Training Center Cape May, instructs recruits in the proper way to ride a stationary bike, Sept. 10, 2014. The training center recently purchased 95 Lifecycle GX indoor bikes, which are more compatible with interval training and will reduce the amount of maintenance required to keep them operational. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Warrant Officer John Edwards.

 

Background: Unlike the other organizations with large geographic concentrations of members, the Coast Guard has limited capacity and capability to train and proctor fitness tests throughout over 250 ashore and afloat locations. In a limited resource environment, we gain far more by expanding and enforcing our current required fitness activity rather than investing in structure and overhead to properly implement a service-wide mandatory fitness test.

Civilian employees are also a critical component of the Coast Guard workforce and their health and fitness is important to mission readiness. As such, civilian employees may exercise during the workday, up to three hours per week, with supervisors approval and operations and workload permitting. Subsequent concerns led CG-11 to place the civilian workout policy in abeyance until a pilot study could be completed to evaluate the impact on worker productivity and sufficiency of policy guidance.

 

Ensign Karen C. Love maintains physical fitness standards during patrol on the 378-foot High Endurance Cutter Hamilton. During the patrol the crew of the Hamilton will host their second half-marathon. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer Jetta H. Disco.

Ensign Karen C. Love maintains physical fitness standards during patrol on the 378-foot High Endurance Cutter Hamilton. During the patrol the crew of the Hamilton will host their second half-marathon. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer Jetta H. Disco.

 

The pilot assessment to study civilian exercise was subsequently conducted and is now concluded, revealing no appreciable productivity loss. The results of this pilot study, and the responses of a significant majority of employees and supervisors, indicate productivity would likely be unaffected if civilian employees are allowed to participate in voluntary physical exercise programs during the work day. Based on the findings of this study, the abeyance to this policy has been removed, and units are now permitted to authorize civilian general schedule, wage grade, and senior executive service employees work time for voluntary participation in physical fitness activities. Effective no later than March 9, 2015, civilian employees are authorized to participate in physical fitness activities during the work day, up to three hours per week, workload and operations permitting.

Civilian employees requesting to participate in physical activity must follow the guidelines. An additional change to this policy gives commanding officers the authority to: limit the working hours during which fitness activity may be performed to prevent or mitigate disruptions to unit or workgroup efficiency and effectiveness. Exclude participation by incumbents of civilian positions with assigned activities that cannot be paused during designated working hours, without adversely affecting work being performed by other members, employees or work groups due to activity interdependency. Instructions for logging administrative wellness time into WEB TA

Supporting the policy and requirements established in REF A is a leadership responsibility at all levels of the Coast Guard. Growing a culture of fitness and health across the entire workforce, military and civilian, is essential to our mission effectiveness.

 

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