Can your fitness level handle the mission?

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Rick Hiltman
  • 460th Civil Engineer Squadron first sergeant
There are four dimensions of human wellness: physical, spiritual, emotional and social. These four "tie-downs for riding out a storm" are for every Airman and will inevitably be used once, or at various times while we serve. The tie-downs could refer us to the Heath and Wellness Center, to our Primary Care Manager, Life Skills, a Chaplain, a trusted friend, a mentor, the Area Defense Council, Airman and Family Readiness Center or to a supervisor.

You determine the balance in these four anchors of wellness. Balance is paramount in our methods of coping, our emotional state, group, community or professional involvement, the importance of faith with life's challenges and your current exercise routine. Where you place emphasis is different for each of us and again balance is key. As you personally emphasize your "tie-downs" in addressing the whole person concept, I would like to emphasize the Air Force fitness program and write briefly on the physical aspect of wellness.

Air Force Instruction 10-248, outlines the Air Force fitness program. The intent of the commander-driven Air Force fitness program is not to chisel you into the next Mr. or Ms. Universe. It is to ensure you are in the best shape to complete the Air Force mission. Is your fitness level up to the task to allow you to work long hours in the high heat of Southeast Asia? Is your fitness level up to the task to allow you to bear the freezing cold of Alaska or Northern Europe? Can your body maintain the stress levels that the long hours and extreme temperatures the mission requires to be completed for weeks or months without breaking down? 

The Air Force fitness test and evaluations are designed to be an indicator of your ability to endure these stresses and still complete the mission. Bottom line, it's not an option to be physically fit to support the Air Force mission.

As the Air Force has moved to a highly mobile and fit force, the fitness program is evolving from a fit to test, to fit to fight force. More and more emphasis has been placed on fitness and more emphasis will be placed on fitness. A composite score of aerobic fitness, muscular strength and body composition determines our overall fitness, achieved through principled programs of frequency, stretching, intensity, regularity, recovery and variety.

The exercise program with its routines must also be combined with a proper diet for total fitness. There are many foods to match culture, family, background, availability and allergies, to match the many different people and needs. We must know what a good diet is made of. Essential nutrients in a good diet are: carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins, minerals and water from the right sources and in correct quantities. You must live a lifestyle that incorporates a thorough physical fitness regimen and a healthy diet ensure you are ready to complete your part of the Air Force mission.

The Buckley Fitness Center is a high-use facility where squadrons, duty sections and individuals are pushing weights, running laps, spinning, climbing stairs and much more. The Fitness Center calendar is filled with spin classes, yoga classes, stretching classes, strength training classes and more. A great amount of effort and resources are invested to ensure our success.

However, the total fitness program is only as good as the understanding, time and effort you put into it. Our core values play a major role as we strive for our best fitness score possible. Your personal integrity dictates how often you work out. How hard you push yourself outside your comfort zone will determine your preparedness to serve. Your fitness score will show your diligence to excel beyond what you thought possible. The mission will be accomplished as you warm-up and cool down to achieve a healthier lifestyle. Tie-down, stay fit and help your wingman do the same.