Strong B.A.N.D.S. inspires healthier exercise options

SSgt. Mattie Tago advances the ball during All-Army’s last-minute march to a 19-14 victory over All-Air Force in the gold-medal game of the 2013 Armed Forces Rugby Sevens Championships at Infinity Park in Glendale, Colo., with Capt. Andrew Locke (immediate left of Tago) in tow. The U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program Soldiers are featured in the 2017 Army Strong B.A.N.D.S. campaign.

Story and Photos By Tim Hipps
Installation Management Command Public Affairs

Get fit. Eat better. Feel better. Be better.

Entirely too simple a tactic to pass up, and satisfies like a capability warranty for the body, mind and spirit.

Army Strong B.A.N.D.S. is back with the largest Army Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation campaign of the year, pushing Soldiers, their families and Department of Defense civilians to focus on: balance, activity, nutrition, determination and strength — to get up, get out, get busy exercising, eat better and commit to a healthier lifestyle.

“Train. Willing. Able.” is the theme of the 2017 Army Strong B.A.N.D.S. campaign. Each participating location selected at least five fitness activities or events to implement in May.

“Fort Meade has been an annual participant in the STRONG B.A.N.D.S program and [is] continuing the tradition this year,” said Beth Downs, senior sports specialist at Fort Meade. “Throughout the month of May, various events and programs are being offered to help promote health and wellness.”

The events are being held at Gaffney Fitness Center and Murphy Field House, with the exception of partnering with The Lanes at Fort Meade for one event.

Those who participate in various events or challenges will receive a wristband and opportunities to win T-shirts, said Downs.

Other Strong B.A.N.D.S events:

Friday: “Who’s The Fittest?” Gaffney Fitness Center

May 20: Run to Honor 5K/10K at 8 a.m., Murphy Field House

May 20: Armed Forces Bowling, The Lanes

June 9: Army Ten-Miler Qualifier, Murphy Field House

Sgt. Elizabeth Marks, seen here competing at the 2016 U.S. Paralympic Swimming Trials in Charlotte, N.C., was one of the poster Soldiers for the 2013 Army Strong B.A.N.D.S. campaign. She since won gold and bronze medals at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, struck gold four times at the 2016 Invictus Games in Orlando, and received the Pat Tillman Award for Service at the 2016 ESPYs in Los Angeles.

“[We have] two ongoing challenges at Gaffney Fitness Center Group,” Downs said. “Take three group fitness classes in different disciplines in one week, and the Swim Challenge — swim a mile in a week.”

Strong B.A.N.D.S. is an acronym for: Balance, Activity, Nutrition, Determination and Strength, promoting garrison fitness and wellness programs available to Soldiers, families, retirees and civilians.

While the human lifeforce is born resilient, it performs at a peak level when nourished properly — the true recipe to “be better.”

Originally launched in 2011, the U.S. Army Installation Management Command’s annual program began May 1 at 68 installations, garrisons, forward-deployed locations and Reserve centers.

Locations Armywide are promoting programs and activities that support Soldier and family resilience, and encourage individual fitness throughout the National Physical Fitness and Sports month of May.

In total, Strong B.A.N.D.S. will grace 347 programs across the Army.

“We’re not asking them to create new programs, just to highlight existing programs to help generate extra buzz and participation in a class or program that already exists,” IMCOM Strong B.A.N.D.S. coordinator Carole Herr said.

Participants also can access fitness tips throughout May by visiting http://www.ArmyMWR.com/StrongBANDS.

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