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Military’s Space Force to scrap fitness tests in favor of trackable smart devices

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A branch of the U.S. military is ditching annual fitness tests. Instead, its members will receive smart devices that will track their health and physical activity.

NPR reported this week the U.S. Space Force, the sixth and newest branch of the military, announced that by 2023 Guardians will no longer face the annual Air Force physical assessment, which includes a timed 1.5-mile run, one minute of pushups, and one minute of situps.

Chief Master Sgt. James Seballes, the senior leader for the branch’s Space Training and Readiness Command, said, “We’re still using the Air Force PT standards. The difference is in our approach.”

That new approach will see Guardians wearing smart rings and smart watches to track their training and provide the military with data about the troops’ eating and sleeping habits as well as mental health. It will also allow members to track their fitness and compare themselves to their peers.

The fitness-tracking platform, which is being built out by FitRankings of Austin, Texas, will also let troops get credit for activities they normally do. FitRankings CEO Patrick Hitchins said troops are currently complaining about the current tests’ alleged bias for certain activities. The new system will address those complaints “by converting any physical activity into a MET minute, a measure of energy expenditure,” NPR said.

“Guardians could do any type of activity. We could convert it into this metric and then create a culture-building, community-engaging challenge around that data,” Hitchins said.

Space Force Deputy Chief of Space Operations for Personnel Patricia Mulcahy indicated that the decision to ditch the military fitness tests in favor of Oura rings and Garmin watches will lead to an overall wellness improvement for Guardians.

“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,” Mulcahy wrote in a memo cited by NPR.

MAHMOUD BENNETT: A U.S. MILITARY BRANCH IS SCRAPPING ITS ANNUAL FITNESS TEST FOR A MORE MODERN APPROACH

STARTING IN 2023, MEMBERS OF THE U.S. SPACE FORCE – KNOWN AS GUARDIANS – WILL INSTEAD START WEARING TRACKABLE FITNESS DEVICES

LIKE THESE: NPR REPORTS THE DIVISION HAS BEEN TESTING OUT GARMIN WATCHES AND OURA RINGS FOR ITS PROGRAM

IT WILL ALLOW GUARDIANS TO TRACK THEIR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND MENTAL HEALTH AS WELL AS EATING AND SLEEP PATTERNS YEAR ROUND

IN A MEMO SPACE FORCE LEADERSHIP WRITING THIS APPROACH WILL PRIORITIZE THE GENERAL WELLNESS OF SERVICE MEMBERS BEYOND JUST ONE PHYSICAL ASSESSMENT EACH YEAR

FITNESS TESTS HAVE LONG BEEN THE ROUTINE FOR MILITARY LIFE – EACH BRANCH HAS ITS OWN EXERCISES AND STANDARDS AS REQUIRED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

AND WHILE THE NEWEST BRANCH IS DITCHING THAT MODEL – THE CHIEF MASTER SAYS OVERALL FITNESS EXPECTATIONS WON’T CHANGE MUCH

THE U.S. SPACE FORCE WAS ESTABLISHED IN 2019 UNDER PRESIDENT TRUMP

IT’S TASKED WITH OPERATING AND DEFENDING MILITARY SATELLITES AND GROUND STATIONS FOR NATIONAL SECURITY

IT CURRENTLY HAS 8,400 MEMBERS.

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A branch of the U.S. military is ditching annual fitness tests. Instead, its members will receive smart devices that will track their health and physical activity.

NPR reported this week the U.S. Space Force, the sixth and newest branch of the military, announced that by 2023 Guardians will no longer face the annual Air Force physical assessment, which includes a timed 1.5-mile run, one minute of pushups, and one minute of situps.

Chief Master Sgt. James Seballes, the senior leader for the branch’s Space Training and Readiness Command, said, “We’re still using the Air Force PT standards. The difference is in our approach.”

That new approach will see Guardians wearing smart rings and smart watches to track their training and provide the military with data about the troops’ eating and sleeping habits as well as mental health. It will also allow members to track their fitness and compare themselves to their peers.

The fitness-tracking platform, which is being built out by FitRankings of Austin, Texas, will also let troops get credit for activities they normally do. FitRankings CEO Patrick Hitchins said troops are currently complaining about the current tests’ alleged bias for certain activities. The new system will address those complaints “by converting any physical activity into a MET minute, a measure of energy expenditure,” NPR said.

“Guardians could do any type of activity. We could convert it into this metric and then create a culture-building, community-engaging challenge around that data,” Hitchins said.

Space Force Deputy Chief of Space Operations for Personnel Patricia Mulcahy indicated that the decision to ditch the military fitness tests in favor of Oura rings and Garmin watches will lead to an overall wellness improvement for Guardians.

“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,” Mulcahy wrote in a memo cited by NPR.

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