A little known, little used program may be your ticket to a healthier you. And, Uncle Sam will pay you for your workout, up to 3 hours a week, for 6 months. 

The Commander’s Civilian Health and Fitness Policy, Garrison Policy #40, outlines the requirements for civilian workers on post to take advantage of paid time off to jump start their workouts and begin an exercise program that gives civilians who work, live and play on post an opportunity to get into better physical shape. 

According to Karen Shepherd, Fitness Facility Manager at Belvoir’s Kawamura Human Performance Center, the Civilian Health and Fitness Program is designed to empower individuals to get fit during the work day, with three hours of command-approved fitness time per week for six months. 

Get Healthy 

“This program was designed to help the workforce adopt and maintain healthy behaviors,” she said. “The workforce can engage voluntarily in an exercise program of their choice to help improve their physical fitness and general health and to develop and maintain cardio-respiratory fitness, body composition, flexibility, muscular strength and endurance.” 

“MWR’s Civilian Health and Fitness Program empowers you to get fit during your work day,” added Charice Smith, KHPC fitness program specialist. “It’s great for beginners and cost-free, there’s no excuse not to give it a try. Plus, Sports and Fitness offers a wide-range of authorized activities— from group exercise classes and water fitness, to weight training. Participants can find the exercise routine that works for them. This great opportunity is open to Fort Belvoir civilian employees.” 

Who’s Eligible? 

All regular full-time and part-time Appropriated-Fund (AF) and Non- Appropriated Fund (NAF) civilian personnel assigned to the Fort Belvoir Garrison are eligible to participate in the Civilian Health and Fitness Program, Smith said. Employees already engaged in a formal physical exercise program as a requirement of their occupation (firefighter, etc.) may not participate in this program. This policy does not apply to contractors. Employees of partner organizations are eligible to participate with supervisory approval. 

“Army civilian employees are encouraged to engage in a regular program of exercise and in other positive health habits,” Smith said. “On a one-time basis, an employee may be authorized those three hours of administrative leave per week to participate in a command-sponsored physical exercise training and education program for six months from the start of the program. The three hours of administrative leave are limited to one hour per duty day. The six-month participation time may not be extended, even if the employee fails to use all of his or her administrative leave in any given week. Employees are encouraged to continue a personal fitness program after completing the program to sustain their overall health and wellness.” 

The program is also flexible to provide employees with a number of choices in terms of when they fulfill the program’s requirements. 

“These one-hour increments may be taken at the end of the duty day, at the beginning of the duty day, or added to the approved 30-minute lunch period to enable a 90-minute, mid-day workout block,” Smith said. “Employees may not adjust lunch periods to take 90 minutes at the beginning or end of the duty day.” 

Shepherd stressed that prospective participants should consult with their personal physician before starting this or any other exercise program. 

“All participants are encouraged to seek medical clearance prior to starting any exercise program,” she said. 

Workouts and more 

MWR Sports and Fitness offers a wide-range of authorized activities, including walking, jogging, running outside or on a treadmill, fun walks/ runs, using cardio equipment, elliptical/recumbent cycle/stepper, weight lifting, open gym activities, basketball or volleyball, fitness classes and workshops, racquetball and water fitness (through the Aquatics Program). 

According to the commander’s memorandum, MWR Sports and Fitness specialists will conduct information briefings; coordinate pre- and post-assessments for each participant; coordinate the fitness program as a whole; track program participants to ensure their enrollment packets are completed and they are eligible for the program; maintain proper documentation and storage of all forms; and provide sleep, physical activity and nutritional education pamphlets to participants during the program. 

The start date for the six-month cycle is the date staff-member approval is received. Members may only participate one time. One fitness staff member will be appointed as a liaison to each participant to orient participants on cardio, stretching, machine, free weight and cable crossovers as well as provide continued guidance and motivation throughout the program. Nutritional guidance will also be provided by dietetic professionals. 

Punch cards will be issued for free aerobics classes, bike rentals, water aerobics and pool passes. Participants that record perfect attendance for an entire calendar month may qualify for an extra punch card. Participants will also receive a health promotion program packet which will include health education information, goal tracking, a log book and prescriptive workouts. 

The employee and his or her supervisor must enter into a written agreement and the participant must complete the enrollment packet obtained from the Sports and Fitness Civilian Health and Fitness program. (Enrollment and medical-clearance forms are available at https:// belvoir.armymwr.com/application/ files/2314/9332/8074/BEL_Civilian_ Health_and_Fitness_Program_ Packet_2016.pdf.) 

Employees can register under RecTrac and scan in when working out and may participate only one time. The RecTrac data base will be used to track participation upon supervisor’s request. 

Members who do not utilize workout time may be removed from the program. 

For more information, call 703- 806-4430/4659.