By Airman 1st Class Jonathan Whitely | Peterson-Schriever Garrison Public Affairs
SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — The Air Force recently removed the waist measurement from the physical fitness test, but Airmen must stay physically fit year-round to perform their mission.
While most members think fitness requires just going to the gym, fitness is heavily based on a balanced diet.
“Eating healthy does not have to be hard but does require a commitment,” said Carol Carr, 21st Medical Squadron health promotion coordinator. “Simple things like grocery shopping and meal planning can set one up to make better food choices and reach their health-related goals.”
Carr stressed the importance of consuming vegetables, as they are among the least consumed food groups in America. However, she said there is no need to focus on potatoes, corn and peas as they tend to be higher in starch.
“We all eat poorly at times, but the length of time is really what matters,” Carr said. “One day of eating poorly will not drastically impact your goals. However, eating poorly for even a week can negatively affect your goals. This is especially important if you are trying to lose weight or reduce disease risk.”
The Health Promotion Office offers numerous resources Airmen can use to help monitor their health such as body fat assessments and classes on topics such as healthy eating. Airmen can also schedule an appointment with a registered dietician, if desired. However, due to COVID-19 restrictions, appointments are a combination of virtual and in-person.
Carr added, in the U.S., people tend to consume food high in protein and saturated fat, such as red meat. Carr recommended cutting down consumption of these foods. Additionally, Carr said it’s important to limit intake of sugary and high-sodium foods and beverages
“There’s nothing wrong with an occasional snack or meal that might be considered excessive,” said Seth Cannello, 50th Force Support Squadron sports and fitness manager. “However, I don’t like the terms “cheat day” or “weekly cheat days,” because that implies it’s okay to have an entire day of overabundance. Eating too much or eating high-caloric snacks should be rare and not the norm.”
Some of the side effects of a poor diet include weight gain, tooth decay, heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, strokes and diabetes.
“Eating well and exercising are two very important activities that all Airmen should practice,” Cannello said addressing ways to stay fit. “These activities were important before the pandemic, but they are even more important now [during COVID restrictions].”
Currently, the fitness center is open Monday-Friday 5 a.m.-7:30 p.m. and 7 a.m-3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. However, there are patron limits in each room and machines are separated to allow for physical distancing. Additionally, patrons are asked to wear masks while not exercising and wipe down any surface they touch.
To schedule an appointment with the Health Promotion Office, email Carr at email@example.com.