161st Air Refueling Wing's New Year, New You Series: Fitness

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Wes Parrell
  • 161st Air Refueling Wing

Nearly half of all Americans will make a New Year’s resolution related to fitness or weight loss and less than 10 percent of them will stick to a plan or make the lifestyle changes needed to sustain that goal.


As an Airmen, your fitness and health directly relates to your military readiness. If your New Year’s resolution includes improving your performance during your Air Force Physical Fitness Test then following these steps may help get you started in the right direction.


“Anyone wanting to start a fitness program needs to set realistic goals and expectations, and reward themselves when they reach them,” said Tech. Sgt. Anthony Anderson, a physical training leader at the 161st Air Refueling Wing. “Starting slow and maintaining a consistent training schedule will lead to success.”


Of the four scored events of the Air Force PFT, the waist circumference measurement is 20 percent of an Airman’s overall score.


A healthy diet and proper exercise can directly impact an Airmen’s waist circumference measurement during the PFT. Abdominal inflammation can be caused by consuming irritating foods such as wheat, sugar, dairy, and alcohol. Avoiding these foods and adding 30-45 minutes of activities like walking, running, biking, or swimming 4-5 times per week, Airmen can experience the physical benefits within four weeks of starting a diet and exercise program.


The muscular fitness components of the PFT are comprised of 1-minute of push-ups and 1-minute of sit-ups. These events place demand on total body fitness and muscular endurance of an Airman’s upper body and core.


“Everybody looks for ways to maximize workout times with exercises and activities that help reach the desired end result,” Anderson said. “Rowing is one of the least know but most effective total body activities you can do and it targets the key muscle groups used during the push-up and sit-up events with added cardio benefits.”


Arguable the most challenging, and the event with the most impact to a PFT score, is the 1.5-mile run. For some, running simply is not an enjoyable activity and for others there may be physical limitations, such as injuries, that inhibit an Airman’s performance or ability to train for the run. Adding a cardio activity 4-5 times a week for at least 30 minutes per day will improve and Airmen’s run time.


There are a number of alternative activities that can build cardio endurance and lower impact to joints and muscles. Rowing, biking, swimming and elliptical training can all develop endurance and have a positive impact to an Airman’s PFT score.


“Training and diet are good practices but it takes adopting a healthy lifestyle to make the most impact,” Anderson said. “There are a number of Airmen here at the 161st that are fitness minded. Networking and using the fitness facilities on base is a great way to great way to get started.”