- coping with stress
- combat stress
- preparing for deployment
- total force fitness
- veterans benefits
- military transition
- suicide prevention
- resources for leadership
- substance abuse
- psychological health
- get involved
- thanking service members
5 Mobile Apps for Total Force Fitness
Staying fit requires a comprehensive approach that integrates the mind, body and spirit. Using the free mobile apps highlighted in this article can help you sustain optimal well-being and performance, also known as Total Force Fitness even under difficult conditions.
Why is Total Force Fitness so important? Achieving and maintaining Total Force Fitness helps warriors and their families cope with stress, maintain a healthy lifestyle and prevent illness. Read the Real Warriors Campaign article, “Total Force Fitness – Overview” to learn more about how you can build or maintain your resilience in the eight domains (psychological, behavioral, spiritual, social, physical, medical and dental, nutritional and environmental) and achieve total fitness.
1. Monitor your mood with the "T2 MoodTracker"
Monitoring, tracking and referencing your mood throughout a period of time can help you gauge how environmental influences and life stress may be impacting your psychological health. The T2 "MoodTracker" app, available for Apple and Android devices, allows you to set daily reminders to record your mood. Use this app for your own awareness or consider sharing the results with your health care provider.
2. Keep calm with "Breath2Relax" app
Being behaviorally fit means managing your behavior and coping with stress so you can navigate tough times. One way you can manage stress is through breathing exercises, which can help activate the body’s relaxation response.1 The "Breathe2Relax" app, created by the National Center for Telehealth and Technology (T2), can help you physically calm yourself in times of stress. The app includes a series of breathing exercises and can be used on its own or in tandem with clinical care, as directed by your health care provider. Visit the Apple App store or Google Play to download the app for your smartphone or tablet.
3. Strengthen your psychological and behavioral fitness with "LifeArmor"
"LifeArmor," available for Apple and Android devices, can help you build or maintain psychological and behavioral fitness through self-assessments and tools to help you cope with stressors such as anxiety, sleep issues and substance misuse, among others. Brief self-assessments track symptoms and offer resources and tips to teach you coping skills. The app also features video testimonials from service members, veterans and military family members sharing their experiences coping with common stressors.
Achieving total fitness and readiness involves monitoring changes in your performance when faced with difficult conditions and taking steps to cope with these challenges and strengthen your resilience. While serving in combat, you may experience a traumatic event such as losing a friend, bodily harm, violence or extended separation from loved ones. If not addressed and treated, feelings of sadness and distress following combat exposure stress can lead to posttraumatic stress disorder. For more information on this topic, read the Real Warriors Campaign article, “Understanding Posttraumatic Stress with 'PTSD Coach',” to learn how you can use the PTSD mobile app to manage symptoms and connect directly to support resources.
4. Stay social with the "Positive Activity Jackpot"
Social activity can help you build resilience, relieve stress and build lasting relationships. The "Positive Activity Jackpot" app, developed by T2, offers ideas for positive activities that you can do with friends or family. Use the app to plan events that give you something fun to look forward to. Using the app, you can find nearby activities and invite contacts to join. The app also includes an extensive list of pre-programmed activities from which you can choose. If you can’t decide which fun thing to do, “pull the lever” and let the app make the choice for you. Visit Google Play to download "Positive Activity Jackpot" for your Android smartphone or tablet.
5. Assess your physical health with the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute BMI Calculator
Body mass index, or BMI, is calculated from your height and weight and can be helpful for gauging your risk for diseases that can occur with more body fat. The higher your BMI, the higher your risk for certain diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, gallstones, breathing problems and certain cancers.2 The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute BMI calculator, available for Apple and Palm operating systems, evaluates your BMI and directs you to resources that can help you build and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Government app challenges are driving innovation in mobile health, including psychological health, nutrition and physical fitness. Through websites like Challenge.gov, agencies are working together with the public to address public health concerns. To learn more about government-sponsored app challenges, contribute ideas or find new apps, visit the Department of Veterans Affairs Innovation Challenge or the U.S. Surgeon General Healthy Apps Challenge.
In addition to the apps listed above, the Real Warriors Campaign offers 24/7 assistance through the campaign’s mobile site. Connect 24/7 with trained health resource consultants at the DCoE Outreach Center through the Real Warriors Campaign Live Chat. Through your smartphone, you can access the Outreach Center by tapping “Reach Out 24/7” from anywhere on the mobile site, by calling 866-966-1020 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Air Force Virtual Wingman mobile site
- Army smartphone apps
- Department of Veterans Affairs mobile apps
- Department of Veterans Affairs mobile site
- Department of Veterans Affairs National Center for PTSD mobile site
- Department of Veterans Affairs National Resource Directory mobile site
- National Center for Telehealth & Technology mobile apps
- Navy Individual Augmentee mobile apps
- Navy Operational Fitness and Fueling Series mobile app
1 Mahoney, Louise. “Reduce Stress with 10 Minutes of Chair Yoga” [PPT 889KB], Department of Veterans Affairs War Related Illness and Injury Study Center. Last accessed Aug. 25, 2014.
2 “Assessing Your Weight and Health Risk,” National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Last accessed Aug. 25, 2014.