Year-round fitness key to human weapon system maintenance
OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- For some, the word fitness spurs excitement and motivation, and for others it's an idea that sits on the back burner until it's required. Regardless of the sentiment, for military members, fitness remains a primary responsibility for any individual currently serving.
"We are human weapons systems, so we need to take care of ourselves. We fly the planes, we run the computers, we see the patients-- without us, there is no fight," said Tech. Sgt. Vanessa Arthur, the health promotion flight chief with the 51st Aerospace Medicine Squadron, sharing her personal opinion as a trained professional working in the Health and Wellness Center.
For those who aren't properly trained and even for those who frequent the gym, it's not difficult to incur an injury. It's important to remember to take precautions and use proper technique when working out. Both the HAWC and the fitness specialist at the gym here can assist in make sure that service members are educated on how to not only stay in shape, but avoid injury.
"We need exercise," said Arthur. "The time to focus on your personal fitness is not right before a physical training test, but should be done regularly. We often recommend three days a week and suggest incorporating cardio every day. Not working out regularly and then hitting the gym makes you more prone to pulling a muscle or hurting yourself."
According the HAWC, the most common injuries sustained from working out are back and knee. These can be caused by adding too much weight to a machine, improper form or use of equipment and even not stretching or warming up.
"When it comes to adding weights, progress by 10 percent each week and don't do more than what you're capable of," Arthur said. "Also, make sure you're able to lift the weight comfortably without losing your form. If you lose form just to add on more weight then the workout is pointless. You could end up with an injury or won't see the desired results.
Proper form is essential and not doing workouts properly can even affect other parts of the body. For instance, moving your head while you're lifting can cause injury, or arching your back during a bench press."
The fitness center staff is trained and can also assist in making sure members are using proper form.
"The fitness staff is not just there to hand out equipment and check ID cards, we are here to help complete the mission," said Senior Airman Raashida Wise, 51st Force Support Squadron fitness specialist. "We do equipment orientation, can give tips and help improve form if needed."
A good way to balance workouts is to rotate the muscle groups. By focusing on different components each day, the body will have time to recover in between.
"Most people get in the gym and focus on only one area, and some don't do cardio," Weiss explained. "You want to rotate so you don't exhaust your muscles. It's good to focus on the same items we use for our PT testing: cardiovascular, push-ups, sit-up, and waist, with proper stretching before and after."
Working out regularly can be a stress reliever, Wise said. Especially on really busy days, it's good to clear your head and get a good work out in.
"When people think of fitness and working out, they can't think of it as a burden, or an obligation," Wise stated. "It is required but it should also be fun. You should want to better yourself: physically and mentally. The fitness center offers more than 15 classes weekly with different options to include abdominal classes, cross fit, zumba and yoga. Workout partners are also positive encouragers that can help members stay motivated to get in and stay in the gym."
For more information about working out and proper techniques, call the HAWC at 784-3208 or stop by the Osan Fitness Center.