Story by Tech. Sgt. Jason Van Mourik, 173rd Fighter Wing / Public Affairs
The term fitness is everywhere today, from advertisements to hashtags to bookstores; however, there is often confusion as to how it actually defined. Within the military, fitness represents a balance between readiness and well-being, where each of those two conditions support each other.
The 173rd Fighter Wing is starting up a Community Health and Wellness Center (CHAWC) in order to support the health, nutrition, and overall fitness needs of Airmen at Kingsley Field.
“Over the years, I have seen a real lack of this resource on base and how that affects people negatively”, said Tech. Sgt. Jennifer Hall, the new health promotion coordinator for the 173rd FW. “We just didn’t have the tools to really help people with fitness and health for a long time.”
The CHAWC’s goal is to create a unified team of qualified and trained individuals who can provide tools for Airmen’s mental, emotional, and physical well-being. Keeping Airmen fit and healthy helps ensure the wing continues to train the best air-to-air superiority pilots in the world, support their community and missions around the globe, says Hall.
“This program isn’t going to be centered on just the annual fitness test, but it is a resource to help people that are struggling,” she adds. “The team provides a holistic approach to making a better Airman.”
The wellness team plans to work alongside the chaplains, mental health professionals, and other resource experts to provide the knowledge, experience and resources Airmen need to make healthy and smart life choices adds Hall.
Part of the program’s goal is to build partnerships with community organizations who also offer resources for promoting healthy lifestyle choices, from dietary choices to physical exercises and mental health resources.
“Our overall goal is to give our Airmen the tools to be able to create a better life for themselves,” said Tech. Sgt. Rachel Warnick, a CHAWC human performance specialist. “When you’re eating healthy and working out correctly, you are reducing the chance of injury to yourself.”
Along with providing nutrition and fitness education now, the CHAWC team plans to incorporate even more in the future such as assisting members who have an illness, injury, or pregnancy in the healing process, to smoking cessation programs, and even cooking classes.
“A lot of people don’t know there is a proper way work out to prevent injury,” said Warnick. “We’re here to provide the training and resources to keep our Airmen fit, because who wants to be injured from working out; it’s miserable.”