Make fitness part of your holiday celebration

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Darrell Judy
  • 32nd Flying Training Squadron commander
I don't have to tell you how challenging it can be to do well on the new Air Force fitness assessment. In fact, it can be difficult especially if you try to "spin up" at the last minute to pass.

The key to meeting the new requirements is establishing a solid fitness regimen and then maintaining your program throughout the year. The problem is "life happens" and there are many things which can derail your fitness program. This is especially true of the holiday season.

It's quite easy to forget about taking that run or hitting the gym during this special time. Can you blame us -- great food, family and friends, the partying and did I mention the holiday treats?

While there are hundreds of excuses to take your attention away from the gym, it's important to remain committed to your program. Besides staying in shape for the fitness assessment there are some good reasons not to slack off and stay focused on fitness.

First and foremost is maintaining all the work you've put in shaving those precious seconds off your mile run. If you're like me you worked hard hitting the pavement at 0-dark-30 each morning or putting in an extra set of sit ups. Why throw all that effort away?

This is not to say you can't have a little holiday cheer, but keeping a balance is key. Have a good time but make sure you offset the partying with an extra mile on the track.

Second, sometimes just finding the time to work out properly can be challenging. With busy schedules at work, fitting exercise into your calendar might be difficult. During the holiday break you'll likely have some free time so put it to good use by making fitness a priority in your personal time.

Granted you'll have many competing interests for your time and it might be tempting to let physical training slide, but don't waste your down time throughout the holidays. Put it to good use with a workout session at the gym.

The holidays can be stressful. Whether or not we like to admit it, the hustle and bustle of last-minute shopping, getting everything ready for visitors or just the challenges of traveling during the holidays all adds up.

There are many techniques for dealing with stress, but one proven solution is fitness. A good work out can help clear your mind and break up the cumulative stress of the holiday season. Do yourself a favor and chill out with some fitness.

Finally give yourself and your loved ones the gift of health. We all know that there are no short cuts to maintaining your fitness and keeping the weight off regardless of what the late night commercial may promise.

As my 7th grade science teacher told me, "There are no short cuts to losing weight and staying in shape; put down the fork and hit the track." Pretty simple advice, but in practice it can be more difficult. So forget the latest fad. Be a little selfish and take time out to work out. Not only do you owe it to yourself to be fit, you also owe it to your family and loved ones to be healthy and live a long life.

During this season of celebration make sure to stay focused and include fitness in your schedule. This will be the one guiltless gift you can give yourself and one less goal you need to include in your New Year's resolutions.