Make physical training priority for health, AF career

  • Published
  • By Capt. Brandon Shade
  • 71st Security Forces Squadron
There are many Air Force standards that I just don't really like. Shaving is probably the biggest one. I hate the irritating feel of shaving day after day. There are others I'm not real fond of, but this is the one gets me. Despite this, I still do it everyday before coming to work. There is no choice in the matter. It's simply a standard that I'm expected to meet whether I like it or not. 

Just like a clean, shaven look, physical fitness is a standard we are expected to maintain as members of the world's finest Air Force. It is not optional. While the Air Force is constantly looking at what processes we can cut to save time and resources, this is not one that is going to change. This is evident by the recent introduction of the fitness block on the new officer and enlisted performance reports. Your physical fitness now has a direct impact on your future in the Air Force. 

I won't go into the reasons why you should stay physically fit. I'm not an expert in this, and you all know them any way. I am amazed though that despite all the known advantages of physical fitness and it being a requirement for us as Air Force members, some people still do not take it seriously and fail to meet the standard. 

So why do we frequently see this standard pushed off to the side? The most common excuse, besides physical injury, is the popular, "I don't have time." Let's look at this for a moment. If you honestly believe this, you probably haven't thought about it too hard. Unless you get up and go straight to work only to come home and go to bed, you probably have time somewhere in your day. Sure, we all have those busy days where it's difficult to get some gym time or a run in, but that's probably not the case all week long. President Bush (and President Clinton before him) finds time in his schedule to work out and stay in shape. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that you are not as busy as he is, so you can too. 

So if it's not about time, what's the real reason? I would venture to say it's priorities. President Bush and other senior military leaders make it a priority in their lives. It is part of their routine, not a nicety when it's convenient. Time for physical fitness is like time for meals. It's just part of the day consistently planned for. 

Now I realize that physical fitness may be that one standard you dislike the most. Sure, it can be a little unpleasant and less than enjoyable for some of you. However, just like shaving, it's a standard that is expected to be met. Just like not shaving, it is also one that can be easily noticed. Battle dress uniforms may conceal it somewhat, but put on some blues and it becomes very obvious. 

I recently heard of an incident of someone not going to an event because they couldn't fit into their blues properly. They didn't want to set a "bad example" to the Airmen there. My first thought was, "Well they're a little too late on that one." We are all leaders and set an example to someone. It may be to an entire squadron, group, wing or just to that new Airman that came into the unit yesterday. Regardless, someone is watching and taking notes. Let's make sure that we are setting the right example in meeting all standards, including physical fitness. 

So instead of rushing off to watch old TV reruns, take 30 minutes and go for a run or lift some weights. You may find that you even come to enjoy it after a while, and it is a lot more likely to help with that promotion than your favorite TV show.