DVIDS – News – Committed to caring in CAF: Physical fitness key component to resiliency

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. — The late Jack LaLanne said on a blog on his website, “Anything in life is possible, if you make it happen.” The American fitness icon for more than six decades died in January at the age of 96, yet his legacy still fits with Air Mobility Command’s Comprehensive Airman Fitness culture.In the four pillars of the Comprehensive Airman Fitness culture, physical fitness is one of those pillars that officials say helps achieve the CAF goal to build a “culture of balanced, healthy, self confident airmen and their families whose resilience and total fitness enables them to thrive in an era of high operational tempo.” In an Air Mobility Command talking paper on physical fitness, it defines the physical fitness pillar as “performing and excelling in physical activities that require aerobic fitness, endurance, strength, flexibility and body composition derived through exercise, nutrition and training.” Why be physical?Senior Master Sgt. Troy Saunders, functional manager of vehicle management at Air Mobility Command Headquarters at Scott AFB, is a champion powerlifter. At the 2011 Military National Powerlifting Championships, he set a dead lift record of 644.75 pounds in the 198 pound class. for him, being as physically fit as he is requires self-motivation. The benefit, he said, is better long-term health.”Fitness is a very individual thing. regardless of the fact that we have a fitness test that we have to pass, you should make fitness a part of your life,” Saunders said in a July 2011 AMC report. “Do something as an integral part of your life that you enjoy, that you can sustain for life-long purposes beyond your time in the military. “Fitness is priceless from the fact that it offers you a lot of benefits health-wise, and long-term, when you’re 60, 70, or 80 years old,” Saunders said. “If you’ve lived a long, fit life, like Jack LaLanne, you’re going to enjoy life a lot more.”Just getting physical activity is beneficial, according an article at militaryonesource.com by Dr. Deborah Borchers, a pediatrician from Cincinnati. The article states that “people of all ages benefit from developing a steady exercise routine” and through physical activity.Some of the benefits of physical activity include it helps build and maintain healthy bones, muscles and joints; increases strength and endurance; helps manage weight and control blood pressure; promotes self-esteem and psychological well-being; relieves feelings of stress; builds confidence; reduces symptoms of depression and anxiety; and lowers the risk of stroke, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and colon cancer.How to get motivatedAnother article at Military one Source by Borchers, entitled “Fitting exercise into everyday life,” states, “It’s never too early or too late to start making exercise part of your everyday life.” Like Jack LaLanne says though, “You make it happen.”The article highlights that both young and old benefit from physical exercise and can simply increase their fitness levels by adding on a little extra activity every day. it might mean taking the stairs instead of an elevator, walking to work instead of driving, riding a bicycle or doing activities that require physical movement like mowing the grass or pushing a stroller during a family walk.”Remember that small bits of exercise still count,” the article states. “If you can do 10 minutes of strength training in the morning, take a 10-minute walk at lunch and mow the lawn for 30 minutes in the evening, you’ll get a total of 50 minutes of exercise.”Doing physical fitness activities with others helps for motivation too. Studies show, the article states, that people are more likely to continue with an exercise routine if they have someone to do it with. “Find someone who shares your fitness goals,” states another Military one Source article on fitness, “The Benefits of a Fitness Partner,” by Krisha McCoy. “By finding someone with similar fitness goals, you can help motivate each other and share your triumphs.”It’s all ‘interconnected’Lt. Col. Patrick Pohle, mental health flight commander at the 628th Medical Group at Joint Base Charleston, S.C., said eating healthy and being physically fit is great for health is also has emotional benefits.”Body and mind are interconnected,” said Pohle. “When you exercise, your body releases endorphins and you start feeling better.”That interconnection, when a person feels better from their physical fitness, can also lead the better resiliency that Air Mobility Command’s command chief, Chief Master Sgt. Andy Kaiser, wants all airmen and their families to have in the CAF culture.”Comprehensive Airman Fitness is a culture and a way of life,” Kaiser said in his letter to AMC airmen, Aug. 15. “Our Air Force has had a significant presence in the Middle East since 1990, and today’s triple operations of Enduring Freedom, new Dawn, and Unified Promise continue to tax an airman’s ability to bounce back after a significant challenge. By embodying the four pillars of mental fitness, physical fitness, social fitness and spiritual fitness, our airmen don’t just survive, they thrive in these formidable times. If we do not keep ourselves strong, then we cannot do the missions we are called to do.”

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