Eielson OST integrates fitness wearables into its program

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Danielle Sukhlall
  • 354th Fighter Wing

The U.S. Air Force Physical Fitness Assessment (PFA) gauges service members’ cardiorespiratory and muscle endurance every year, however, what about the rest of the year?

The Eielson Operational Support Team (OST) has been working on an innovative answer with the roll-out of their fitness wearables project that started Dec. 1, 2023. Fitness wearables are any fitness device that tracks physical health, including rings, watches and bands, for the primary purpose of tracking fitness-related activities.

“Our goal is to try and identify a readiness score that is standardized through all wearable fitness devices and can provide reliable and valid data leadership can trust and make decisions off of,” Maj. Miles Stutes, 354th Medical Group OST physical therapist, explains. “By using tech innovation like the fitness wearables, it can help OST provide resources to Airmen sooner rather than later, potentially addressing the issue before it spirals out of control.”

The OST is a multidisciplinary medical team that temporarily embeds with operational units, that includes a physical therapist, psychologist, social worker, strength and conditioning specialist and a team specialist. The team uses data from PFAs and medical profiles to help decide where their intervention would be useful to help reduce the physical and mental challenges units face to improve their readiness.

“Physical fitness assessments are awesome, but are only a snapshot in time,” Chief Master Sgt. Micheal Crawford, 354th Security Forces Squadron senior enlisted leader, shares. “Wearables have the capability
to provide the command team an up-to-date snapshot of where the team is on lots of readiness issues, providing us everything we need to make sure our forces are ready to go at a moment's notice.”

Currently, the OST team has worked with different sections in the 354 SFS to organize specialized workout plans and sessions. Members from the workout groups meet two to three times a week to workout and test the different fitness wearables. By leveraging individual and combined data through this technology, leaders can make informed decisions on how to increase lethality and readiness, while proactively preventing excess exposure to harmful conditions.

“Our ultimate goal for this project is just for everybody to be healthier and happier,” said Greg Hayward, Trackable Health founder and CEO. “We're really working to create a bond between the end user and trackable health, as well as providing value for management to reduce friction, issues and uncertainty.”

OST aims to continue harnessing data gathered from health and fitness wearables to foster improved individual performance, resilience, and personnel wellness across Eielson.