Staying fit to fight critical

  • Published
  • By Brig. Gen. Susan Helms
  • Commander, 45th Space Wing
Experiencing weightlessness is one of the great things about living on the International Space Station and flying on the Space Shuttle. Such is not the case back on Earth. Here, gravity and Air Force fitness standards remind us that pounds count.

Because staying fit to fight is critical in our expeditionary Air Force we all have to stay in shape. I enjoy running and just recently participated in a running event in Orlando. I don't know if there were other Sharks in the event, but I am encouraged that almost any time of day I drive around our base I see joggers pounding the pavement and a crowed parking lot at our world-class fitness center.

If you aren't a runner, there a certainly other ways to get a good workout such as swimming, weight lifting, cycling or just plain walking. Try to do something daily you enjoy that works your cardiovascular system and/or muscles.

Proper fitness and dietary habits should be a part of everyone's daily routine. Good healthy lifestyle habits enhance not only an individual's quality of life, but an Airman's ability to better serve our nation, as well. Physical fitness is as much a part of our warrior ethos as wearing uniforms and deploying.

Physical fitness is to the human body what fine tuning is to an engine. It enables us to perform up to our potential. Fitness can be described as a condition that helps us look, feel and do our best. Being active for 30-60 minutes on most days can help you build strength and fitness, relax and reduce stress, gain more energy and improve your sleep. For me, nothing clears my mind or reinvigorates me mentally and physically like a good workout.

Our Air Force spent almost $4 billion on health care last year. If Airmen stay in shape, eat properly and keep healthy, we can decrease the Air Force's health care expenditures and stay on the job. This translates into increased readiness and more dollars that can be used for modernization and recapitalization.

If you have been inactive for several years or are currently under medical care, please consult your doctor before starting a new exercise program. Otherwise, when you finish reading this article, put this paper down and go work out. Let's get war fit. Go Sharks!