Back to Top Skip to main content

Joint Chiefs say mind, body, spirit all part of Total Force Fitness

Image of a Marine climbing a rope ladder A Marine competes in the High Intensity Tactical Training Championship at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia. Total Force Fitness offers a framework for improving wellness and resilience of military members and their families. The eight TFF domains are medical and dental preventive care, environmental, nutritional, psychological, social, physical, financial, and ideological and spiritual. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by James Frank)

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Total Force Fitness | Total Force Fitness

Fitness of mind, body, and spirit is inherently connected with military service. But the understanding of this relationship is constantly evolving as our operational and family commitments change. For 2020, the Military Health System is focusing on Total Force Fitness, a comprehensive framework for improving readiness and resilience of the nation’s military, families, and the communities that support them.

The concept of Total Force Fitness is not new. As early as 2006, the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS) was investigating the aspects that led to human optimal performance or HPO, allowing service members to excel in an operational environment. In 2009, then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Michael Mullen, commissioned USUHS to develop the Total Force Fitness concept into a CJCS Directive that would address the intersection of health, fitness, and performance optimization.

"[Adm.] Mullen recognized that it required Total Force Fitness to defend our nation,” said USPHS Capt. (Dr.) Kimberly Elenberg, chief, Total Force Fitness branch, Public Health Division, Defense Health Agency.

Mullen realized that “Total force fitness is more than a physical fitness,” he wrote in the August 2010 supplement to Military Medicine, Volume 175, No. 8. “It is the sum total of the many facets of individuals, their families, and the organizations to which they serve. It is not something that someone achieves twice a year for a test.  It is a state of being.”

USUHS staff discovered that much of the research on human performance centered on “prevention of disease through physical examinations, vaccinations, health risk screening, enhanced exercise, and the reduction of unhealthy habits, such as smoking and alcohol use.” But with the constant demands placed on service members and their families, more emphasis needed to focus on what factors contributed to resiliency.”

Mullen, with the help of experts at USUHS and the services, developed Total Force Fitness into a concept, adaptable by the services, that included more than the physical aspects of health. They wanted a program that would lead to a military force that could adapt to changing requirements and be resilient to stress. Later this year, a new CJCS Directive will update the Total Force Fitness concept, outlining eight dimensions that help the services achieve total force fitness.

The dimensions were derived from a variety of sources, including current practices on medical fitness, psychological resilience, physical fitness and injury screening, and integrated health approaches. The Total Force Fitness concept integrates health, resilience, and human performance into the following domains:

  • Physical Fitness: the ability to physically accomplish all aspects of human performance while remaining mission capable and avoiding injury.
  • Environmental Fitness: the ability to optimally perform in any environment, including worldwide, garrison, training, and operational environments.
  • Medical and Dental Fitness: the ability to sustain health and wellness and facilitate restoration to meet established medical and dental standards for fitness for duty, return to duty, and medical readiness.
  • Nutritional Fitness: the ability to sustain an optimal level of performance through consuming foods, supplements, and beverages in adequate quantities, quality (nutrient content), and proportions.
  • Spiritual Fitness: the ability to operationalize one’s spirituality to optimize performance. Spirituality is composed of beliefs and practices that strengthen connectedness with sources of hope, meaning, and purpose.
  • Psychological Fitness: the ability to integrate and improve cognitive, emotional, and behavioral capacities to optimize performance and ensure mission readiness.
  • Social Fitness: the ability to engage in productive personal and professional relationships, positively interact with unit and command networks, and leverage resources that promote overall well-being and optimal performance.
  • Financial Fitness: the combination of attitude, knowledge, skills, and self-efficacy needed to make and exercise money management decisions that best support the circumstances of the service member’s life.

DHA’s Total Force Fitness branch, working with USUHS and the Consortium for Health and Military Performance (CHAMP), will help educate service members and their families to Total Force Fitness concepts. "We'll focus on optimizing the [military] communities’ ability to better understand, assess, and maintain mind, body, and spirit, to include psychological and cognitive wellness," Elenberg said.

The CHAMP website and Health.mil will provide updates and resources throughout the year that military health practitioners, service members, and their families can use to learn more about how they can achieve and support Total Force Fitness.

You also may be interested in...

Proper diet, sleep, exercise, and joy key to heart health

Article
2/24/2021
Military personnel working out at the gym

Heart health is crucial to service members’ readiness throughout their high-stress careers. Working to achieve that takes self-discipline and moderation, but also joy, integrity, and social interaction

Recommended Content:

Heart Health | Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness | Total Force Fitness | February Toolkit | Healthy Heart and Total Force Fitness | Preventing Heart Disease

How do you mend a broken heart? It usually fixes itself

Article
2/23/2021
Military personnel wearing a face mask, gets his heart checked out by military heath personnel

'Broken Heart Syndrome’ and ‘Holiday Heart Syndrome’ are very real phenomena. Spiritual and social fitness can help mitigate both.

Recommended Content:

Heart Health | Total Force Fitness | February Toolkit | Healthy Heart and Total Force Fitness

Training for a healthy heart can improve overall health

Article
2/22/2021
Military personnel wearing a mask exercising in the gym

Service members must be heart healthy to perform optimally throughout their military careers.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Physical Fitness | Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness | Total Force Fitness | Heart Health

Army hospital powers through record-breaking winter storms

Article
2/22/2021
A military medical center covered in snow

BAMC comes away from major winter storm unscathed.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness

March 2021 Toolkit

Publication
2/22/2021

March is nationally recognized as Brain Injury Awareness Month, with the goal of increasing traumatic brain injury (TBI) awareness and improve health care providers’ ability to identify, care for, and treat all those who are affected by TBI. A TBI is a blow or jolt to the head that disrupts the normal function of the brain. According to the Defense Health Agency Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence, 430,720 service members have been diagnosed with a first-time TBI since 2000. The toolkit also contains information on patient Safety Awareness Week, National Nutrition Month and many other graphics and messages you can use for holidays and observances during March.

Recommended Content:

March Toolkit | Total Force Fitness | Traumatic Brain Injury

Order of Military Medical Merit presented to USU medical student

Article
2/19/2021
Military personnel receiving the Order of Military Merit

Army 2nd becomes the first USU medical student to receive the Order of the Military Medical Merit.

Recommended Content:

Combat Support | Health Readiness | Global Health Engagement

Improving health outcomes, readiness is aim of new grant funding

Article
2/18/2021
Military health personnel wearing a mask giving a shot to a patient

DHA offers funding grants for high-value research that supports better care, better health, and increased readiness, with lower costs.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness

VCE examines low vision with detection and care

Article
2/18/2021
military health personnel wearing a mask and performing an eye exam

Dr. David Eliason, of the Vision Center of Excellence, says low vision awareness is about prevention, detection, and continuing treatment.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Health Tools | Medical Research and Development | Vision Loss

DOD initiatives address the sexual health of our military

Article
2/17/2021
Image of a bacterium

STIs are important to identify and treat because they can impact service members’ health and readiness, as well as their ability to perform their duties.

Recommended Content:

Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Health Readiness | Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness | Men's Health | Women's Health

Healthy Heart for Body & Soul

Video
2/17/2021
DHA Seal

February is American heart health month and the Military Health System wants to help you maintain optimum heart health utilizing the Total Force Fitness tool.

Recommended Content:

Total Force Fitness

Navy Lt. stresses importance of being proactive during winter training

Article
2/10/2021
Marines march during a cold weather leadership course

MCMWTC is the "real deal."

Recommended Content:

Total Force Fitness | Winter Safety | Winter Safety – Extreme Cold Weather and Your Heart

A ‘holistic framework’ for Total Force Fitness through 2021

Article
2/8/2021
Three military personnel, dress in gym gear, exercising with medicine balls.

Total Force Fitness is being re-introduced in 2021 by all branches of the military, to include an emphasis on holistic training that goes far beyond physical fitness.

Recommended Content:

Total Force Fitness

WRNMMC’s participation in APOLLO program furthers cancer research

Article
2/4/2021
Two groups of vials on a table

The MCC serves as the preeminent cancer research and treatment facility within the Department of Defense.

Recommended Content:

Research and Innovation | Health Readiness

USU launches into 2021 with Team Wellness Challenge

Article
2/2/2021
Four women, wearing masks, holding onto a simulated brain

Every New Year brings resolutions to change or improve our health, fitness, attitudes, or habits.

Recommended Content:

Total Force Fitness | February Toolkit | Healthy Heart and Total Force Fitness

COVID-19 presents challenges to heart health, physical fitness

Article
2/1/2021
Four military personnel, wearing masks, running on a track

Because of COVID-19 shutdowns, the overall health of both military personnel and beneficiaries has taken a hit over the last year.

Recommended Content:

February Toolkit | Healthy Heart and Total Force Fitness | Preventing Heart Disease | Coronavirus | Total Force Fitness | Physical Fitness | Heart Health
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 40

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.