By Mike O’Toole, Army Medicine Public Affairs
Army Medical Command’s (MEDCOM) Performance Triad guidelines determine that at least 10,000 steps per day – approximately five miles – are a suitable activity benchmark. However, on Dec. 13 at the inaugural Holiday Jingle Walk, much of the staff at the Office of the Surgeon General (OTSG)/MEDCOM headquarters in Falls Church, Va., got in “a little over 4,000 steps before noon,” according to Lt. Gen. Patricia Horoho, Army surgeon general and MEDCOM commander.
Uniforms were not mandatory for this event; instead, reindeer antlers and Santa hats were widely seen atop athletic gear. Nonetheless, while keeping in the holiday spirit, “we are taking one step forward and investing in our health,” said Horoho.
The idea for the walk had its origins in a similar walk held during the Halloween season at Fort McNair in Washington, D.C. The event featured costumes and health presentations, notes Barbara Ryan, System For Health training, communication and education lead. General Horoho wanted to do a similar holiday event aimed at building community at OTSG/MEDCOM and Defense Health Agency (DHA) headquarters.
Horoho was also inspired when she inaugurated the Healthy Base Initiative at Fort Bragg, N.C., that featured a 5k walk/run in November. Thus, an amalgam of the two previous events resulted in the Jingle Walk – fulfilling goals outlined in the “activity” component of the Performance Triad initiative coupled with spreading holiday cheer. After the walk, the surgeon general presented awards to individuals and teams for best costume and for having the most group participation.
Participating in events such as the Jingle Walk, which are held outside of the office with co-workers, can also reduce overall stress, observes Col. Timothy Hudson, System for Health lead, “You’re getting fresh air and exercise, and you’re talking about Family and friends instead of work-related stuff.”
The Jingle Walk may well be a prototype for similar monthly walks, not only at Falls Church but at other locations throughout MEDCOM. Hospital and other location employees, military and Civilian, are encouraged to get moving, and to incorporate activity in their daily lives (along with proper sleep and nutrition). Why not have fun and encourage team spirit while doing so?
The Performance Triad is the foundation for Army Medicine’s transformation to a System For Health, a partnership among soldiers, families, leaders, health teams and communities to promote Readiness, Resilience and Responsibility. The focus of the Performance Triad is on sleep, activity, and nutrition – key actions that influence health in the “Lifespace” of time that isn’t spent with a healthcare provider.
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