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HAWC, fitness center encourage physical fitness

Peggy Diaz De Leon, new health and fitness coordinator, Health and Wellness Center, explains the BodPod, a machine used to determine one's body fat percentage, at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2017. The BodPod is a machine capable of detecting body fat compositions, no matter how slight. To be tested, individuals sit quietly inside the machine for three minutes. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman William Tracy)

Peggy Diaz De Leon, new health and fitness coordinator, Health and Wellness Center, explains the BodPod, a machine used to determine one's body fat percentage, at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2017. The BodPod is a machine capable of detecting body fat compositions, no matter how slight. To be tested, individuals sit quietly inside the machine for three minutes. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman William Tracy)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo.- --

Even during winter’s cold weather, Peggy Diaz De Leon, the Health and Wellness Center’s new health and fitness coordinator and fitness center personnel are here to help.

The HAWC is a multi-functional facility oriented on helping Schriever Airmen maintain a healthy lifestyle.

“We have classes such as stress management and sleep tips, and new equipment such as the BodPod, which measures your Body Mass Index. All to help you and your families improve your physical fitness to where you want it to be,” said Diaz De Leon.

She wants to incorporate her prior history in behavioral health and stress management to help benefit Airmen at the HAWC.

"I really enjoy helping people. Being brand new, I have the opportunity to create something more exciting," Diaz De Leon said. "My idea is to make the HAWC a place people want to go, where they have enlightening, educational experiences and can walk away learning something."

Currently located in Building 500 in the restricted area, Diaz De Leon hopes the HAWC's possible relocation to outside the RA will help provide easier access for Airmen and their families.

"Doing classes inside the RA can make it difficult for dependents," she said. "Often, I schedule classes at the readiness center and eventually I'll get out to the housing area as well. However, I'm willing to go anywhere where the need is."

This need to promote physical fitness is important during the winter season.

“Historically, we have many people fail tests this time of year,” said Natalie McCoy, 50th Space Wing program fitness trainer. “We have the least amount of people test, but the most failures.”

McCoy noticed a significant spike in the winter trend of poor physical training test performance, with 17 test total failures last month, oppose to the average of 5-7. 

“It was the highest amount of failures I’ve seen since I worked here,” said McCoy, who has worked at the fitness center for three years.

Poor physical performance often correlates to increased weight. According to a Defense Health Board study, every branch in the Department of Defense is dealing with high obesity rates.

“Consistent with national trends, rates of overweight and obesity have increased in the U.S. military’s population over time,” the study said. “High rates of excessive weight and body fat have implications for national security if our armed forces are unable to recruit and retain a fit force and maintain fitness throughout military service.”

While this epidemic spans multiple bases and military installations, Schriever Airmen have a multitude of ways to engage in physical fitness, argued McCoy.

Along with the services at the HAWC, she advocates Schriever Airmen fully utilize the multiple fitness center programs, even if their fitness assessments are months away.

“Even if you are not testing for a while, you need to maintain fitness and utilize the means that we have here,” said McCoy. “People need to adopt a preventative approach. Too often, do we have people come to us two to three weeks before their test and ask us for help.”

Attending classes lead by fitness center employees long in advance as well as working out in small groups, such as the “boot camp” workout, help prepare individuals for their FA, said McCoy.

“If you have a partner, or a small group they can push you during exercise and account for you,” McCoy said. “Boot camp is often associated with people failing their FA, but it can help you prepare for it.

“It comes down to personal accountability,” she continued. “We have the tools to help you, you just need to show up.”

For more information on the HAWC and Fitness Center programs, call the HAWC at 567-4292 or the Fitness Center at 567-6628.

Study Source: Defense Health Agency Implications of Trends in Obesity and Overweight for the Department of Defense Fit to fight fit for life

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