Why fitness matters

  • Published
  • By Maj. Robert Farkas
  • 62nd Aerial Port Squadron commander
The Air Force tells me I have to be physically fit in three areas: a 1.5 mile run, sit-ups and push-ups, along with having a waist size that is within a certain range.

Do I like it? To be honest, I like it better than the bike test because it is physically more challenging and motivates me to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The main reason I do it: it's a condition of employment. That's right, if I enjoy being a member of the best Air Force in the world, I must comply with what the Air Force expects or else I am out of a job.

I've read all the opinions, blogs, and complaints about the new Air Force Fitness standards. But when it comes down to it, we are here on our own accord. We were not drafted; we are not here because someone told us to be. When we signed the dotted line, each of us knew we were giving up some personal freedoms and we swore an oath to comply with Air Force Instructions, one of which includes being physically fit.

As a commander, I know who does well and who does not in my squadron. I am always curious to know why someone does not pass this test, especially when there are consequences up to and including discharge if they fail multiple times. What is your motivation? For some it's keeping your job, promotion, beating your peers, beating your previous score, receiving a pass from work, public acknowledgement, etc. Fitness should be a part of your daily routine, a life change for some, which includes not just physical fitness but a good diet regiment to coincide.

Bottom line: physical fitness should not be a chore, but a way of life. Fitness should be treated like any other normal bodily function, meaning you don't have to think about it, it occurs naturally. By all means, do not prepare for it like a school exam, a CDC test, cramming a week to two weeks prior to the test, because your body will not be prepared.

Your unit, your base, your country depend on you to answer the call. Fitness matters, because the Air Force needs you in the fight today and in the future. Ultimately, complying with fitness means complying with Air Force Instructions, and proves your commitment to serve. The next time someone asks "Why does fitness matter?" Answer: "Because the Air Force demands it and so should you."