SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --
Call your friends, your family, your dog, your neighborhood luchadore, your guardian angel, call everyone cause we're going to the hospital. Wait, what?
On March 16, the roads around the Sheppard Clinic at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, were transformed into a pathway for good life choices and betterment of selves. The 82nd Medical Group was divided into warring sub-factions turning the once group PT session and "I love being fit" event to a morale-boosting, flag-waving, pride-exposing, dog-walking and family friendly event known as MDG Moves.
The event was a hybrid between running laps around the track and a wacky out-of-control costume block party, which created a fun way to work out for some. Although being what some would never even think could be possible, the event that turned out to be a "fun time" at work was still at it's core a promotion for healthy lifestyles for a better fit to fight or fit to heal MDG personnel.
"As healthcare professionals, we focus so much on our patients we often neglect our own health," said Col. Sally A. Kelly-Rank, commander of the 82nd MDG. "We're taking steps to help create a work environment that supports a healthy lifestyle by providing walking routes, standing desks and full access to our health promotion team. With a third of our staff being civilian, it's important to us to implement initiatives that support our full team of medical professionals"
The event was a two lap run, walk or gallop around Sheppard's clinic with workout stations sprinkled in. Most seemed as if this event was not the most physically requiring, but that was not the goal. To change people's thinking of fitness, even just a little, was one of the goals of the health promotion team who helped set this event up.
According to the American Heart Association, walking is the simplest and easiest exercise to start and pretty easy to continue doing. As few as 30 minutes a day provides the heart with health benefits, which anybody from a wee toddler to an elderly grandparent tired of young whippersnappers with their snapchats and their clickety-clacks could benefit from, but this 30 minutes might not be enough for some.
Saralauren Peacock, health promotion's registered dietitian, said 30 minutes is good, but is not nearly enough to offset the eight hours stagnation. Even working out an hour a day doesn’t equal healthy. It takes squadrons and shops to incorporate some kind of physical activity in the work place.
The idea made into reality proved quite fruitful as most of the event goers seemed actually happy to be there. Everyone from the families reunited for an extra hour together to the dogs who were brought out and had no idea what was going on. It was safe to say if healthy lifestyles was not promoted, the morale at the med. group was definitely promoted from "eh ok" to "U.S.A. chanting at olympics" level of morale.
"(PT) It's not that at all," said Staff Sgt. Frances Sumayop, the 82nd MDG's non-commissioned officer in charge of physical therapy. "Its to gather everyone, boost morale and enjoy."
Other than the personnel of the clinic, health promotions hopes to also change the mindset of the patients who come to the clinic.
"We plan to have certain routes so they can walk while they wait for their prescriptions," Peacock said. "A cool alternative to just sitting there and waiting. We’re going to make signs for people who wait in the pharmacy: ‘If I walk this five times it’s half a mile.’ So while you wait, you can walk instead of just sitting there."
Capt. Amber Britt, the 82nd MDG Public Health officer, said a constant and established environment and standards really plays an important role in a person’s fitness.
"I really love the fact that Health Promotion has mapped out several paths throughout the medical group to encourage people to get up and start moving," she said. "Many people have a very sedentary work environments but having these paths encourages people to take a few moments for fitness and begin adopting healthy practices."