An integral part of military life is undergoing annual physical fitness testing. The yearly evaluation required by the Department of Defense has its own take on each service.
However, the nation’s newest military branch is abandoning that approach. In a Space Force announcement, there won’t be an annual test for Guardians, members of the Space Force. Instead, people will purchase smart rings or other wearable fitness equipment to monitor their annual physical activity. The gadgets will also be configured to provide input on sleep, a balanced diet, and mental health.
According to US Space Force leadership, the strategy would provide attention to service personnel’s overall health in addition to their annual physicals. Some military soldiers have developed eating disorders and other undesirable behaviors as a result of the annual examinations.
The system will be based on a color-coded fitness indicator, with green denoting health, yellow denoting opportunity for progress, and red denoting health stats, the Air Force Times reported citing the same confidential letter.
In a memo, the Space Force deputy chief of space operations for personnel, Patricia Mulcahy wrote that “This program will promote not just physical fitness; it will pair fitness with robust education on diet, sleep hygiene and other physiological factors to promote social, mental and spiritual health as well.”
Starting in 2023, Space Force Guardians will forgo annual fitness testing by adopting a continuous fitness tracking system using wearables. The change is still taking shape; Guardians still need to pass one more Air Force fitness exam, which consists of a timed 1.5-mile run and one minute of situps and pushups.
Space Force officials think it will also motivate troops to take good care of their bodies all year long, not just before exams.
Maj. Gen. Shawn Bratton, commander of Space Training and Readiness Command said, “There’s increased responsibility on me, not just once a year to take a fitness test, for example, but maybe to exercise 90 minutes a week.”