VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --
Physical fitness is an important standard to uphold in the military. Not only is it crucial to mission success, but members can also reap long-term health benefits from improving and maintaining their overall fitness.
May is recognized as Physical Fitness Month, and is a chance to renew one’s commitment to a healthy, active lifestyle.
“Physical Fitness Month is a good time to really focus on fitness and highlight some of the benefits of staying active,” said Pamela Coffey, 30th Force Support Squadron fitness center director. “I think it’s important in the military for everybody to stay fit and active. Studies show that being active is the key to longevity and health. Remaining physically fit will also allow members to accomplish their mission much easier.”
Gym-goers can implement a wide-variety of workouts into their daily routine, such as cardiovascular drills, anaerobic training, or even muscle endurance and strength exercises. The key for each individual is a routine that they are comfortable with. Fitness center employees encourage new gym members to explore their options and seek help if they need it.
“We’re always here to assist people in helping them get started or answer any questions they have about what we have to offer in terms of equipment, programs and events.” said Coffey. “We also have introductory classes to show people what we have, and we have the personal trainers on board that can help people get started on a plan that’s custom-designed to their needs or goals.”
For those interested in mixing it up, there are a plethora of classes and workouts available at both the fitness center and the fitness center annex.
Lt. Col. Chad Riden, Joint Functional Component Command for Space chief of space control division, offers a functional fitness class that incorporates everyday movements performed at high intensity.
“Functional fitness is constantly varied, functional movements, executed at high intensity,” said Riden. “It’s just everyday movements. Doing a squat is like picking up the groceries or an Amazon box off the doorstep. Overhead workouts translate to putting your luggage in an overhead compartment. It’s just everyday movements, but we mix them up, the rep scheme (how many), and the time domain (how long) and we always want to perform them with intensity. That’s how you get body composition change – with intensity. We’re always using different time domains, weightlifting, running, body weight exercises, barbells, and everything in between. Get your body used to doing anything at any time.”
For Riden, keeping things less monotonous and more creative in the gym results in a more productive workout.
“Figure out something that you enjoy doing because you’re more likely to stick with it,” said Riden. “People tend to get burned out with monotony and doing the same thing over and over again. It becomes boring and then they’ll stop doing it. It’s really important to move every day, to do different things and play different sports. Homogenous training is just that – it makes you good at one thing, but our bodies were designed to do many things. If you can bench press 285, you’re really strong. But if that’s all you’re doing, your 1.5 mile run time will likely suffer. I would incorporate lots of different things.”
Another key to improving one’s overall fitness is consistency, not just during Physical Fitness Month, but every day.
“Stick with it, every day,” said Riden. “You’ve got to take rest days, but you’ve got to stay with it. It’s so easy to get out of shape and so hard to get back in shape once you’re out of shape. Once you get to that certain level, you’ve got to stay there and that’s done by consistency.”