Don't Fall Down on Fitness

  • Published
  • By Brig. Gen. Richard Devereaux
  • 82nd Training Wing commander
As we move into November, the Holiday Season is right around the corner. With that time of year comes the promise of time off with family, the chance to take leave, more indoor activities, and the opportunity to "eat, drink, and be merry." All of these are good, but for many this becomes a challenging time to stay "fit to fight."

Of course this happens just as our Air Force's Fitness Culture has increased to an even higher level of emphasis. In addition to the annual fitness evaluation, fitness is now part of the annual OPR/EPR for active duty members. We've standardized the policy on fitness test category exemptions, authorizing only Health and Welfare Center (HAWC) personnel be the ones to grant exemptions in a particular category. The HAWC will be stepping up its oversight of annual tests to ensure our fitness evaluators are administering the evaluation in strict accordance with the AFI.

On the resource side, I've just authorized significant increases to our fitness center manning, operating hours, and equipment purchases. I've resolved to put our money where our mouth is with respect to the fitness emphasis here at Sheppard.

This emphasis is part of a realization that the fitness culture we've seen develop across our Air Force is no longer an enhancement or just a "nice-to-have," but an absolute requirement to ensure our readiness to fight this expeditionary Global War on Terror as well as help control the rising health care costs across DoD. Being "Fit-to-Fight" means being "Fit-to-Win" and helps us all be productive, stay healthy, and be less of a medical burden for the taxpayer.

I know that we are not all created equal when it comes to fitness. Some are blessed with genes that allow them to stay slim and run fast, while others struggle with fitness their entire life. That's true with most of our talents and abilities. But genetics aside, we all need to commit to "excellence in all we do" and fitness is no exception. In the quest to stay fit to fight, here are my thoughts:

· Being fit is not just about passing an annual fitness test; it's about being able to excel on a fitness test any day of the year.
· Take a practice test every quarter--if you score well, log it! This technique will reduce your stress over the test, and help you stay fit 365.
· Although we work hard to provide workout time during the duty day, fitness remains an individual responsibility and your workouts will often have to occur before or after work, or during the lunch hour.
· For active duty Airmen, your fitness level is an important aspect of your overall duty performance.
· Fitness improvements translate directly into improved performance, readiness, quality of life, productivity, and longevity. It's one of the most important personal investments you can make.

The good news is that most Sheppard Airmen, both military and civilian, have embraced the fitness culture. I see it every time I go outdoors or visit our fitness centers. And about 98% of our active duty Airmen passed their last fitness evaluation--that's phenomenal!

So don't wait until the New Year to make fitness a resolution. Commit yourself now to taking your exercise regimen to the next level. You'll be glad you did, and you'll be a better Airman for our Air Force.