Fitness is a commitment to readiness…and every Airman’s responsibility!

  • Published
  • By Col. Kevin J. Kilb
  • 62nd Airlift Wing commander
Anticipated changes to the Air Force Fitness Program went into effect at the start of the New Year, and the good news is, most Airmen already 'get it' - they know fitness is tied to combat readiness and already make fitness an integral part of their lives.

In fact, many Airmen (and family members) have adapted regular or even advanced fitness routines and healthy diets to their lifestyles. This is the ideal approach. Health and fitness are not 'extras' to be fit in to life where we can, but must be approached as a holistic part of a quality life.

To support these health and fitness efforts, the Air Force makes a sizeable commitment to Airmen and families in the form of base fitness and Health and Wellness centers. These facilities and their professional staff help our Airmen and their families achieve a variety of personal goals.

In fact, the Air Force commitment to Airmen and families was underscored this week during the visit of Gen. Raymond E. Johns, Jr., our Air Mobility Command commander. In his commander's call, General Johns announced a $675,000 upgrade to our fitness center annex to include an indoor running track, larger locker rooms and electrical systems upgrades. I look forward to opening our renovated facility after Labor Day.

For Airmen, staying fit is a professional obligation; the nation relies on your fitness to meet mission requirements. Strength, endurance, sharp mental focus - and many other benefits are gained from good fitness and diet...and there are no short-cuts. Deployed to the Area of Operations with other wingman or members of the joint team relying on you isn't the time to discover your approach to health and fitness fell short.

So, like all critical combat readiness capabilities, our Air Force measures Airman Fitness. In recent weeks, annual fitness testing changes were announced, some take effect immediately - like testing twice a year; other changes take effect July 1.

Personal fitness is an important Airman responsibility. Each of us is different; there isn't a one-size-fits-all answer. Aside from unit physical training events, each Airman must develop healthy fitness habits to pass annual testing (the minimum standard), achieve mission requirements, and meet personal fitness goals.

Changes to our Fitness Program encourage Airmen to embrace a culture of fitness and discourage the idea of "training-up" for the annual fitness test. The difference in these concepts is significant, and we will be a more combat-ready Air Force because of it.

Meeting new physical fitness standards won't be easy for all Airmen. But like so many challenges in our Air Force, with personal effort and encouragement from our wingmen, it is achievable.

Airman fitness is one of many ways we ensure the nation's combat readiness and demonstrate our commitment to our Core Values. There is Integrity First in assuring a wingman you are fit to fight; there is Service before Self when you commit to fitness in your Air Force lifestyle, and there is Excellence in meeting the new fitness standards, all the time motivating others along the way.