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CAF Women & gender -diverse physical fitness and wellness program

Updated: Mar 5

By Martin Zeilig


A new program in the Canadian Armed Forces, the Women and Gender Diverse Physical Wellness and Fitness Program, will provide relevant, targeted and evidence-based physical wellness and fitness supports that address gender specific requirements throughout the seven phases of a woman’s career, notes information on the CFMWS website. 

Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services’ (CFMWS) Personnel Support Programs (PSP) received $3.7 million in recurring funding to develop a Women’s Physical Wellness and Fitness Program.

This is part of funding announced in the 2022 Federal Budget and part of a larger envelope meant to increase the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) capability in being more responsive to women and gender-diverse military personnel.t

The program will prepare for occupational & operational training; Reduce susceptibility to musculoskeletal injury; Support women during pregnancy and maternal/parental leave; and Maintain function through aging and gender development stages, explained Don Mills, reconditioning manager PSP, and Byrann Mazur, physical exercise specialist and women’s health coordinator PSP, during an interview with The Voxair in Building 90 (Sports & Recreation Centre).

PSP is working with Canadian Forces Health Services to develop a program to support female and gender diverse members to increase their representation and improve recruitment and retention of these populations, Ms. Mazur said.

 “They are doing that by providing more specific programming for those populations through all stages of their career from basic all the way to retirement,’ she observed.

“They’re hoping to do that with a series of different targeted programs.”

A number of bases in Canada have already started with pre and postnatal programming for those specific populations.

“These bases are serving as pilots for these programs,” Ms. Mazer said, noting that the national launch for the program is set for this spring at some point.

“Don and I will be starting a program for intro weight training in mid-March, hopefully.”

As the reconditioning manager, Mr. Mills said he’s been given the mandate to start up programs for women in their health and wellness, sports and fitness.

“In collaboration with Bryann, we’ve come up with a couple of ideas and one of them is beginner weight training,” he said.

“We’ll be doing that for a 12 week course for people who want to learn a little bit more about weight lifting.”

“There’s another national program that they want to release toward the end of this spring, the pre and postpartum programming for women. We’ll be getting direction from other bases on how their pilots have gone. Across the country different bases are trying to support this program of women’s wellness throughout the CAF.”

Ms. Mazur also mentioned the Women in Sports Day on March 7, which coincides with events marking International Women’s Day.

“The intent is to expose more women to the different CAF sports that are offered, some they already know and some of the newer ones, like power lifting and grappling, that are starting to come in,” she said.

“It’s directed at women of all skill levels. Just to expose them to as many different sports as possible. It will be a full day event.”

The other sports being highlighted on March 7 will be basketball,  hockey, volleyball and softball.

“We’re also hoping to have something about football,” Ms. Mazur said.

 “We’d like to see lots of people out.”

 “If any of the CAF women are interested in the 12 week weight lifting session, they should contact me or Bryann to register their name,” Mr. Mills said.

“We’re only accepting five in one class. But, we’re looking to open up a second class if enough people are interested. We’ll start about mid-March till the end of March. We can be flexible with that.”

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