Warrior Health: medical care, fitness combine for ready force

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Danielle Grannan
  • 55th Wing Public Affairs
Editor's Note: This is the first in a three-part series about the different aspects of personal health.

"He who has health has hope, and he who has hope has everything." - Arabian proverb

The physical health of military members and their families could be characterized as one of the most important aspects of military success both at home and abroad. Airmen shoulder massive amounts of responsibility - if they're strong enough and healthy enough to handle the weight. But that is an increasingly difficult task for many with ever escalating operations tempos and deployment schedules.

"The constant and often erratic pace of work doesn't allow routines to be easily established or followed," said Senior Airman Justin Taylor, physical therapy technician with the 55th Medical Group.

Physical health as an overall concept has many moving parts, through both the medical and fitness worlds.

"Medical health and physical fitness have a symbiotic relationship," said Airman Taylor. "Neither can exist without the other. For instance, one couldn't be physically fit without having a healthy body as a platform to build on."

The Erhling Bergquist Clinic here offers military members and their families access to the medical care and expertise they need to accomplish the mission.

To stay medically healthy is no easy feat without regular exercise and a good diet.
To help members keep the balance between medical and physical health, the Health and Wellness Center here offers a full lineup of classes and programs.

"The staff at the (HAWC) strives to meet the needs of (military) members and their families by focusing on outreach to better accommodate the members' unforgiving schedules," said Caroline Olson, a health educator at the HAWC.

The programs and classes offered here include three different smoking cessation programs, "Energy Balance" class to develop a nutrition plan and exercise regimen, BOD POD assessments to accurately measure body fat percentage and several nutrition classes. The HAWC also works with the field house to deliver 37 fitness classes every week, including "Boot Camp" and running clinics, and the annual Offutt Biggest Loser competition. You can also make appointments to speak one-on-one with exercise physiologists or a registered dietician.

"One of the biggest barriers we see here is a lack of time management and life balance," said Ms. Olson. "You've got to manage and protect your time. Use it to take care of yourself and make yourself a priority."

There are also many classes and programs offered through the base community center to help military members and their families stay fit throughout the year in a fun, upbeat environment.

The community center offers both Krav Maga and Zumba classes on a weekly basis. Krav Maga is the official self-defense and fighting system of the Israeli Defense Forces and is practiced by many police departments throughout the United States. Zumba is a high-energy aerobics class that combines several dancing techniques including salsa, meringue and hip hop.

However, sometimes between work, deployments, school and home life, military members either push themselves too hard or fall out of their routine and get hurt trying to get back to standards.

The physical therapy office here specializes in rehabilitation, said Airman Taylor.
"It is our job to get a patient back to a physical status that allows them to continue with their normal activities and carry out their mission after sustaining an injury," he added.
"In a clinic like ours, our treatments can range from simple muscular exercises to ultrasonic medication delivery. We develop protocols tailored for specific injuries and patient fitness levels that evolve over time until our patient is once again medically healthy."

Regardless of what stage of fitness and health you're in, there are resources here to help you get healthy, plan a fitness routine, execute your plan and even recover from injury.

"Challenge yourself to find balance in your life that includes health, laughter, love and fun," said Ms. Olson. "Within that balancing act you also have to prioritize challenges, hurdles and hardships. I challenge you to foster an environment of wellness at your workplace and your home."

For more information about the HAWC or to schedule an appointment, call 294-5977. For more information about programs at the Offutt Field House, call 294-5413. For more information about the community center, call 294-6247. To contact the Erhling Bergquist Clinic, call 232-2273 (232-CARE).