Balance – a reinvigorated health strategy


Peter Mallett, Staff Writer ~

To invigorate the physical fitness and wellness of its members, the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) have launched a new physical performance strategy called Balance.

Canada’s Chief of the Defence Staff, General Jonathan Vance announced the rollout of the new strategic document on April 23. It’s focused on realizing the “people first and mission always” goals spelled out in Canada’s Defence Policy Strong, Secure and Engaged. Gen Vance says the aim of Balance is to promote a culture of fitness and improved physical performance for Canada’s approximately 68,000 regular force and 22,000 reserve members.

“We have a collective responsibility within the Canadian Armed Forces to develop and sustain a strong, healthy and fit military,” said Gen Vance. “This begins with leaders who are fully committed to a culture of physical fitness and wellness, and where sailors, soldiers, and airmen and airwomen take their wellbeing seriously.”

Balance falls in line with Canada’s Defence Policy that was announced in June 2017 and builds on the former Canadian Armed Forces Health and Fitness Strategy policy that was introduced in 2008.

Balance is intended to “reinvigorate” the essential components of operational readiness and lifelong wellness by focusing on four key areas: physical activity, performance nutrition, adequate sleep and prevention of injury.

“The strategy’s ultimate goal is to ensure every military member has the support, resources and opportunities to maintain a balanced, healthy, active lifestyle that makes them ready for Canadian Armed Forces operational requirements,” said Gen Vance.

Balance was developed by the CAF with support from Personnel Support Programs (PSP), creating an 82-page guidebook available in PDF version on the national CAF Connection website ( ). It provides local command teams the necessary tools to assist and encourage military members in becoming fitter, healthier and more operationally ready than before.

The document spells out targets for each of the four key areas. In its conclusion, it emphasize the importance of leaders to “develop a policy framework that makes healthy choices easy for all personnel.” It also offers specific advice and guidance for all three branches of Canada’s military (army, air force and navy) along with the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command (CANSOFCOM), Military Personnel Command (MPC), and Canadian Joint Operations Command (CJOC)

Daryl Allard, PSP Director of Fitness, Sports and Health Promotion, says its creation and the rollout was approximately two years in the making, and he acknowledges the goals set in the document won’t happen overnight.

“Balance is essentially a strategic document; so, now our focus is all about taking the next step to operationalize this document at the national, command and local level,” said Allard. “We are currently collaborating with commands, local leadership and PSP staff to provide them the tools and support for them to execute based on their operational realities and priorities.”

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