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HPRC Blog

Welcome to the HPRC Blog. We've got lots of information here, from quick tips to in-depth posts about detailed human performance optimization topics.

Keys to building family resilience

A new RAND report points out key resilience-building features that families can use.

RAND Corporation recently published a report that evaluates studies and programs that promote resilience in the military. The findings by RAND’s military health research group include practices that promote resilience in military families. Below are a few points that can help your family to build resilience together.

  • Emotional ties. Bonding time helps family members become closer to one another emotionally. Shared recreation and leisure time could help tighten family bonds.
  • Communication. The ability of family members to exchange thoughts, opinions, and information is an essential step in solving problems and helping relationships thrive.
  • Support. Knowing that comfort and support are readily available within a family allows members to lean on each other during good and bad times.
  • Adaptability. Families that adapt to the changes inherent in military life are more likely to weather challenges together. Allowing some flexibility in family roles may help smooth transitions.

You can download a summary or the full report of “Promoting Psychological Resilience in the U.S. Military” from RAND’s website. RAND’s research was sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense. For even more information on family resilience-building skills, visit HPRC's Family Skills section.

The ideal nap length?

HPRC Fitness Arena: Mind Tactics, Total Force Fitness
Didn’t get enough sleep last night? Learn how to nap so your mind can perform at its best.

Misinformation abounds regarding ideal nap lengths for optimal cognitive performance. You need sleep to function at your best. If you do not get the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep a night, then napping can help. Learn more in HPRC’s Answer, “Nap to be at Your Best Mentally.”

Get FITT to optimize muscle strength

Optimize your muscle strength and endurance by following the FITT principle.

Muscle strength is an essential component for successful Warfighter performance. Developing optimal muscle strength and endurance maximizes job performance and reduces risk of injury. The FITT principle can help you achieve this goal. FITT refers to “frequency, intensity, time (or duration), and type” of activity.

  • Frequency is the number of sessions in a week that an individual trains. At least two days per week of strength training is recommended.
  • Intensity, considered the most important aspect of strength and endurance conditioning, is defined by the amount of weight used per repetition. For muscle endurance, training should involve 20-60 repetitions of 30% to 50% of one repetition max (1RM; the maximum amount of weight one can lift for one repetition) per set. For muscle strength, training should involve 1-12 repetitions of 65% to 90% of 1RM per set.
  • Time of sessions should range from 30 to 60 minutes.
  • Type of exercise should vary in strength and conditioning routines to prevent boredom and improve gains. A combination of free weights and machines is recommended.

For more detailed information on strength training, read Chapter 6, Strength Training, of The Navy SEAL Physical Fitness Guide.

The effect of combat on communication

Combat is stressful. Here are some tips that can help you overcome the impact of combat on your relationships.

Being in combat is physically, emotionally, and mentally stressful. Part of the body's natural stress response is to remain on high alert in order to have a better chance of staying alive. This can lower your tolerance for relationship disagreements and can cause irritability and conflict. The following are some tips to help you overcome the effects of combat on your interactions with loved ones:

  • Practice emotion management strategies prior to and after communicating with your loved ones to help you calm down first.
  • If you are upset, wait to communicate with your loved ones rather than writing or saying something in the heat of the moment.
  • Describe your feelings and thoughts starting with "I.” I-statements are more personal and reduce feelings of blame.
  • Focus on the communication interaction between you and your partner, not just on the way that one or the other of you communicates.
  • Compliment each other!

FDA News Release: Illegal drug claims banned for chelation products

HPRC Fitness Arena: Dietary Supplements, Nutrition
New York dietary supplement manufacturer agrees to remove drug claims from his website.

New York dietary supplement manufacturer Howard Sousa, of Artery Health Institute LLC and DeSousa LLC, has agreed to remove drug claims on his company’s website. Sousa’s Advanced EDTA Oral Chelation capsules were promoted on the website as drugs since the marketing language made disease treatment claims. More information is provided in the FDA News Release.

FDA News Release: Drug residues in veal calves

HPRC Fitness Arena: Dietary Supplements, Nutrition
Veal calves sold as food contain illegal drug residues.

Virtue Calves was cited for selling veal calves that contain illegal drug residues, which is in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. The company is now required to keep careful records of which animals have been medicated so that illegal drug residues do not enter the food supply. More information is provided in the FDA News Release.

New report focuses on psychological resilience within the U.S. military

HPRC Fitness Arena: Total Force Fitness
The RAND Corporation has released a report identifying factors that promote mental resilience within the U.S. military.

A new DoD-sponsored report titled Promoting Psychological Resilience in the U.S. Military has been released by RAND Corporation and is available in full-text print and downloadable pdf formats. The RAND National Defense Research Institute (RAND NDRI) conducted a focused literature review to identify individual, family, unit and community-level factors for promoting psychological resilience. The study also included a review of resilience programs.

The full report can be downloaded from the RAND website.

Sleep as a child is linked to body weight as an adult

HPRC Fitness Arena: Family & Relationships
Children under age 11 who don't get enough sleep are more likely to become overweight as adults.

The amount of sleep a person gets prior to the age of 11 has been associated with adult body weight.  A 2008 study in the Journal of Pediatrics of 1037 individuals found that shorter sleep times at age 5, 7, 9, and 11 were associated with higher Body Mass Index (BMI) at age 32. This relationship does not depend on BMI as a child, socioeconomic status, TV watching, adult physical activity and smoking, and BMI of a person’s parents.

Herbal products: Important information to know

HPRC Fitness Arena: Dietary Supplements
Herbal products are advertised as “natural," but are they safe? The American Academy of Family Physicians has some answers to important questions.

There are many herbal products available to consumers, yet it is difficult to determine if they are safe. The American Academy of Family Physicians provides answers to questions about herbal product use, potential dangers with specific health problems, and possible drug interactions. A helpful chart about interactions between herbal products and supplements is also available.

HPRC's year in review

HPRC Fitness Arena: Total Force Fitness
HPRC has had a banner year developing its “one-stop shop” to help our Warfighters achieve Total Force Fitness through Human Performance Optimization.

What has the Human Performance Resource Center (HPRC) been doing this past year to make our Warfighters safer? A lot! HPRC has a number of missions, but the most important one—and the one that all of HPRC’s other tasks support—is to provide evidence-based information on Human Performance Optimization (HPO). HPO involves giving our Warfighters the training and information they need to effectively carry out their missions in any environment, with the resilience to avoid injury and illness and the ability to recover quickly if injured or ill. As it turns out, HPO embodies all the domains of Total Force Fitness (TFF)—physical fitness, nutrition, dietary supplements, extreme environments, family/social issues, and psychological fitness—that ADM Mullen is asking the services to embrace.

Some of the accomplishments of HPRC this year are:

  1. Responding to questions from the field (mostly from Warfighters and providers) at the average rate of one per day and growing. These questions cover topics such as proper hydration, dietary supplement use, sleep requirements, managing altitude sickness, how to beat heat illness, and fitness fueling. Every question answered has the potential of protecting our Warfighters from inaccurate commercial information and harmful practices and of increasing their resilience.
  2. Overseeing a workgroup of subject matter experts (SMEs) who developed a white paper on High-Intensity Training that helps put in perspective the information available on these popular training programs. A scientific paper will be published in the near future.
  3. Overseeing the workgroup of SMEs who are developing the concept of Total Force Fitness for ADM Mullen, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff.
  4. Developing and expanding a website that is now servicing more than a thousand people a week by supplying needed information on HPO and TFF.
  5. Supplying “healthy tips” to entities such as the Uniformed Services publication The Pulse and the Military Times.
  6. Partnering with multiple organizations across the services and DoD to help collaborate and coordinate efforts in HPO/TFF.

These examples provide a good snapshot of the activity level at HPRC. The staff and volunteer SMEs are working hard to make our Warfighters safer and more resilient to both physical and mental trauma. Who could ask for a better mission?

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