Fort Drum soldiers have a new approach to physical fitness


FORT DRUM, New York (WWNY) – Introduced in late 2020, H2F, also known as Holistic Health and Fitness, is the Army’s latest effort to improve the overall physical fitness of its Soldiers.

At Fort Drum, the program is housed in a gym affectionately known as the “owl den.”

“It was great. It’s a great family culture. As soon as I came from day one. Super welcome. Everyone here is great,” said Sgt. Ben Yandell, Alpha 110 Company.

The motto of the 10th Mountain Division is Climb to Glory, and in the H2f owl’s nest, they take that quite literally.

What sets H2F apart is its holistic approach, which focuses on treating all aspects of health equally to improve overall physical fitness.

“That confidence and better sleep and that better nutrition and better lower stress levels that a soldier feels always equates to better performance,” said Mark Taysom, program director.

H2F is divided into 5 categories known as domains. Mental, physical, spiritual, nutritional and sleep. The program uses at least one expert from each field.

“I’ll say, here’s your fitness plan to make ranger school, say. But then here’s a dietitian to talk to you about how to plan a meal plan that will also help you achieve ranger school. Then we’ll take you to an athletic trainer to address any injuries you may have,” Taysom said.

He says a secondary goal is to eliminate the attitude that exercise is punishment.

“Teaching Soldiers to take care of their bodies and value their bodies instead of trying to subjugate them is a fundamental culture change that needs to happen,” he said.

The program was also used at Forts Bragg, Bliss and Lewis. There are now plans to implement it nationally in the coming years.

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