Fort Leonard Wood community offers many healthy outlets for releasing stress | Article

Mona Novakoski, Army Wellness Center health educator, assists Staff Sgt. Benjamin Ashmead, from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 14th Military Police Brigade, with what’s called a VO2 Max Test April 28 at the AWC. The test measures a person’s ability to perform sustained exercise. In January, when Ashmead decided he wanted to improve his fitness, he reached out to the AWC. He has been attending regular appointments there since January, and has dropped 10 pounds and reduced his percentage of body fat with their assistance. AWC services are open to all service members, retirees, Department of Defense civilians and dependents of active-duty service members. Call 573.596.9677 for details.
(Photo Credit: Photo by Brian Hill, Fort Leonard Wood Public Affairs Office)


FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. – Finding healthy, positive outlets for stress relieving is important, said the Fort Leonard Wood Army Wellness Center’s Supervisory Health Educator, Anna Schwartz.

“If individuals partake in negative behaviors or neglect participation in positive behaviors, then a cascade of negative consequences can occur, which may only lead to greater stress,” she said. “When we don’t take time to take care of ourselves, then we tend to dig ourselves deeper into a stress pit.”

Schwartz said if an individual is consuming alcohol to decompress at the end of the day, for example, that alcohol may initially cause drowsiness, but the metabolism of alcohol actually causes fragmented sleep disturbances and an overall poor sleep quality. This lack of sleep can negatively impact hormone regulation, which can lead to greater stress.

Fortunately, Fort Leonard Wood and the surrounding area offers many healthier ways for service members, civilians, their families and retirees to relax while also building resiliency skills at the same time. The following is an alphabetical list of some of the organizations here with programs and information that can help.

Army Wellness Center

The Army Wellness Center offers many services, including health risk assessments, health coaching, body-composition analysis, metabolic testing, weight management, fitness testing, stress management, biofeedback, and education on nutrition, exercise, stress and sleep. AWC services are open to all service members, retirees, Department of Defense civilians and dependents of active-duty service members. Call 573.596.9677 for details.

Just across the waiting room in the AWC facility is Fort Leonard Wood’s Ready and Resilient Performance Center, which offers world-class positive psychology and performance enhancement training. Service members, their families and DOD civilians can learn techniques to maintain motivation while setting realistic and achievable goals. Call 573.563.4208 for more information.

Employee Assistance Program

Fort Leonard Wood’s Employee Assistance Program is a free, confidential service for all civilian members of the community, including DOD employees, family members and retirees. They offer short-term counseling and referral services for individuals dealing with stress in the workplace or who need help finding resources for substance abuse, family or mental health challenges. Call 573.596.7199 or email for more information.

Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation

The Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation hosts many programs and events throughout the year for adults and children.

For children:

Registration for summer youth sports leagues – including baseball, volleyball, indoor soccer and bowling – has started. Eligible ages vary between 3 and 15 years old. Register now through July 30 in Bldg. 470, Room 1125, or by calling 573.596.0185.

The Middle School / Teen Center offers fun projects and enriching activities for youth in sixth through twelfth grades. The center is open from 2:30 to 7 pm weekdays. Activities and projects include airplane challenges, creating bracelets, five-on-five basketball, tie-dying shirts and more. Call 573.596.0209 to register for this free program.

Fort Leonard Wood’s Bruce C. Clarke Library offers many family-friendly events throughout the year, including:

  • Story Time, offering the chance for children to read books and do crafts together, which begins at 10:30 am Tuesdays and 12:30 pm Wednesdays; and
  • Book Brigade, a book club that meets at 4 pm on the last Thursday of each month.

Call 573.563.4113, or check out the library’s calendar online for details on these and other events.

For adults:

Davidson Fitness Center offers fitness classes, including HIIT – or high-intensity interval training – Zumba, cycling, and Pound !. Patrons ages 13 and older may attend fitness classes, though anyone 15 years and younger must be accompanied by an adult. Visit the FMWR website or call 573.596.4359 for a full list of classes, dates and times.

Specker Gym is a complete strength and conditioning, Army Combat Fitness Test functional fitness cross-training facility that also offers monthly fitness challenges. Call 573.596.7377 for details.

Fort Leonard Wood has a variety of intramural and recreational adult sports leagues, including basketball, softball, football and soccer. Call 573.596.4359 for details.

Daugherty Bowling Center offers Xtreme Bowling, open bowling and leagues. An assortment of arcade video games are also available in the Drop Zone Gaming Lounge. Visit the FMWR website for updated hours of operation, the Strike Zone Snack Bar menu and more.

The Auto Skill Center has car and motorcycle bays, a computerized and manual information center for self-help services and classes on topics including oil changes and other routine vehicle maintenance. Call 573.596.0243 for details.

Piney Valley Golf Course is open to anyone with access to Fort Leonard Wood, and features an 18-hole, par 72 championship course running along the Big Piney River. The PVGC also features a driving range, putting greens, chipping area, pro shop, golf lessons, tournaments and scrambles. Call 573.329.4770 to book tee times and to register for upcoming tournaments.

For outdoor enthusiasts, the Missouri Ozarks have a lot to offer, and the Outdoor Adventure Center has facilities for archery, paintball and trap and skeet on site, and stocks gear for fishing, hunting and more. Call 573.596.4223 for details.

The Lake of the Ozarks Recreation Area, located about an hour north of Fort Leonard Wood, offers weekend getaways for fishing, camping, boating, swimming and water skiing. All service members – active duty, National Guard and Reserve – retirees, DOD civilians, family members and Fort Leonard Wood contract employees may reserve a cabin, camping or RV spot by calling 573.346.5640.

Additionally, FMWR’s Army Community Service offers classes and one-on-one help to promote resilience and self-reliance, thereby helping to reduce stress. Services at ACS include Army Emergency Relief, financial and relocation readiness, new parent support, victim advocacy and more. Call 573.596.0212 for details.

Healthy Futures Pulaski County

Outside Fort Leonard Wood’s gates, the Pulaski County Health Center and Home Health Agency has a program called Healthy Futures Pulaski County – a community coalition set up to encourage individuals to invest in their health.

Visit their Facebook page for details on upcoming events and how to get involved.

Nutrition Care Division

General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital’s Nutrition Care Division has registered dieticians available by appointment with no referral needed. Like the AWC, they also offer body-composition analysis. Walk-in hours to use the machine and review the results with a dietician are 8 to 10 am Fridays.

The Nutrition Care Division is located in the basement of GLWACH, Room 012. Call 573.596.1762 for details.

Religious Support Office

Spiritual readiness is one aspect of the Army’s Holistic Health and Fitness initiative, and Fort Leonard Wood’s Religious Support Office has programs in place to assist individuals with developing some of the personal qualities needed in times of stress, hardship and tragedy, whether they identify as religious or not.

The following is a list of some of the spiritual studies groups that meet here regularly:

  • Protestant Women of the Chapel meets from 9 to 11:45 am Tuesdays at the Main Post Chapel.
  • Catholic Women of the Chapel meets at 5:30 pm Wednesdays at the Main Post Chapel.
  • Catholic Women’s Bible Study meets from 11 am to 12:30 pm Sundays in Bldg. 6501.
  • Buddhist meditation training takes place from 3 to 4 pm Saturdays at Specker Chapel.

The RSO also hosts many events and activities geared toward families and children, including:

  • Youth of the Chapel – intended for children in grades 6 through 12 – that meets at 6:15 pm Wednesdays;
  • Christ Fit, a 10-week program in the spring and fall, that offers food, fun and education for children and adults; and
  • Vacation Bible School, that is scheduled for July 25 to 29. More information on registering for this event is available here.

Visit the Fort Leonard Wood Religious Support Office Facebook page or call 573.596.2127 for details on these and other upcoming services and events.

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