U.S. Army Sgt. James Brannen, a Soldier assigned to Soldier Recovery Unit at Fort Bliss, Texas, performs an at-home workout. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the adaptive reconditioning program at Fort Bliss is offering virtual programs and activities to support Soldiers. | Photo courtesy U.S. Army
ARLINGTON, Va., — Boulders, buckets and bedsheets may not seem like workout equipment, but that is exactly how Soldiers assigned to the Soldier Recovery Unit at Fort Bliss can use them during an innovative at-home body-weight workout.
Such ingenuity has been paramount as adaptive reconditioning programs provide classes and activities virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Army Recovery Care Program examines these changes in its Adapting to COVID-19 Series. The third article looks at how some of the adaptive reconditioning program’s classes and activities were modified to support Soldiers who are following stay-at-home orders.
Adaptive reconditioning programs provide weekly activities and sports that help wounded, ill and injured Soldiers achieve long and short-term goals and return to active lifestyles. Soldiers assigned to the SRU at Fort Bliss are offered a calendar with different activities for each day that includes at-home body-weight workouts, core strengthening, cardio routines, Pilates and yoga.
Sgt. Maj. Gerald Cureton stated that the videos really help him with his recovery. “I take my recovery seriously,” he said. “They give me new ideas on how to vary my routines. They also help me to break out [of] the monotony of my daily routine.”
Adaptive Reconditioning Support Specialist Alan Cooksey selects at-home body-weight workouts that Soldiers can do with little or no equipment. He developed and filmed one workout in his backyard that used items like rocks for farmer’s walks, boulders for deadlifts and water bottles for bicep and triceps exercises.
Cooksey also used water buckets and bedsheets as innovative replacements for workout equipment. All activities are carefully reviewed to ensure that they are safe for most Soldiers with injuries, and modifications are offered as needed, Cooksey stated.
The activities helped Sgt. Maria Rios explore new ways to stay active during these times. “I came to realize that I don’t need a proper gym to get a good workout,” she said.
The transition to a virtual reconditioning program has difficulties and benefits. Cooksey noted that not being able to teach one-on-one can be challenging at times, but that the virtual programming opened new communication channels through which he can reach more Soldiers.
Army Warrior Games coaches are also using technology to adapt during the COVID-19 pandemic. They are providing high-end sport training in a virtual environment for approximately 50 Soldiers on a weekly basis. Soldiers at the SRU at Fort Bliss borrowed bicycles and weight equipment so that they can train. Their coaches are preparing them via virtual training exercises.
Adaptive reconditioning programs provide activities and sports that help wounded, ill and injured Soldiers to optimize their wellbeing, achieve their goals and return to active lifestyles. Through these virtual programs, Soldiers can continue classes and programs and try new ones. During the COVID-19 pandemic, an average of 350 AR activities are offered at 14 SRUs across the country every week.
Author: Christine Aurigema – Army Recovery Care Program