Lackland Air Force Base, Texas –
Recently, members of the 37th Services Division Fitness & Sports section at Lackland AFB finished an eight-week fitness challenge.
Almost every staff member participated in the event.
The members were originally divided into two teams, red and blue, for the challenge.
On average, each member increased their health and fitness score by 4.6 points. A score increase indicates that an individual is closer to excellent optimal health and fitness.
The blue team ended up winning the challenge with a total point increase of 70, while the red team finished with a 50-point increase.
"(The challenge) was kind of a brain child of mine," said Fitness & Sports Director Steve Reichert. "Years ago we had (an Air Force-wide) 90-day fitness improvement programs, but our program kind of died due to employee turnover. This was a way to revive the program."
The challenge was implemented to motivate the Fitness & Sports staff, comprised largely of people who have only been working at Lackland since March, to increase fitness levels.
"You know, I wasn't sure I was going to be able to do it, but I was overwhelmed with the response. It is more a testament to their motivation than it is to any type of management orchestration I did," Mr. Reichert said.
The program was also implemented to increase the staff's knowledge of the Micro-Fit Challenge equipment.
Mr. Reichert said he hoped a staffwide challenge would generate awareness and interest in the Fitness & Sports section's ability to create a program designed for an individual to improve his overall fitness.
Next quarter the Fitness & Sports program plans to have a basewide challenge.
While the program does measure strength and conditioning, it also heavily weighs health related factors such as blood pressure, resting heart rate and maximum volume of oxygen.
"How much you can curl isn't going to help you live longer, but blood pressure, resting heart rate and cardiovascular performance directly contribute to living a longer life." Mr. Reichert said.
An individual's VO2 maximum is one of the primary reference points determining assisted living in the elderly.
"If you can't work at 5 metabolic equivalent tasks you aren't allowed to live by yourself," Mr. Reichert said.
Because there are many factors that go into an individual's health, the program is specifically tailored to meet the needs of every one participating.
The program is free of charge. In order to participate one must schedule an appointment with a trainer. A trainer will measure your current fitness and then prescribe a workout and diet routine to meet the individual's target needs.
There are two main problems that contribute to people not meeting their fitness and health goals. The first is a lack of knowledge.
"About 15 years ago, when the Air Force first got the MicroFit program, I wanted to decrease my body fat percentage, so I started skipping meals and running a whole lot, and I ended up putting on more fat," Mr. Reichert said. "It was so frustrating, so I understand when people don't get the results from their exercise program. I want to make sure that never happens to anyone else."
The other major factor in an individual not meeting health and fitness goals is motivation.
"The biggest challenge in meeting your fitness goals is consistency," said Chaparral Fitness Center Director Richard Brown. Mr. Brown was the Fitness & Sports director at Randolph AFB for nine years before joining Team Lackland.
"People have a tendency to procrastinate and you can't reach your fitness goals if you do that. I'm guilty myself of becoming a little lazy, but this program helps eliminate that by making people more competitive, not only against other people doing the program, but against yourself." Mr. Brown said.