Health & Safety

July 26, 2013

Running clinic gets Airmen fired up about fitness

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Staff Sgt. LUTHER MITCHELL Jr.
56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Marlyn Shults, 56th Aerospace Medicine Squadron exercise physiologist, participates in a spin class with Airmen July 17 at the 56th AMDS Health and Wellness Center. The class is part of the running clinic, a six-week-long program designed to improve fitness test scores.

Running is part of the physical training test and as such, many people on Luke Air Force Base spend much of their PT time running, whether it is on the track or around the base.

The 56th Aerospace Medicine Squadron’s health and wellness center is conducting a running clinic to help Airmen improve their run time and overall fitness.

“This program has been going on for about a year now,” said Marlyn Shults, 56th AMS exercise physiologist. “It started out as an Air Force-wide study, and because we had so much success with it, we decided to continue it.”

The program was created primarily to help those people struggling with the run portion of the physical fitness test.

“We targeted people who scored under 45 points out of 60 on the aerobic component of the PT test,” Shults said. “It is for those people who sit on the bubble: those running slower than their minimum or for those who, if they have a bad day, fail the test.”

Airmen and civilians from across Luke have volunteered time to help with the running clinic. The 56th Force Support Squadron has also supplied a spinning instructor.

“It is really a cooperative effort between the HAWC, the fitness center and volunteers,” Shults said.

Results have been good, thus far. The running clinic has a 100 percent pass rate. Run time improvements range from one minute, 30 seconds to two minutes, 30 seconds.

“So far, so good,” Shults said. “Everybody has improved. Across the board we have had consistent improvements.”

The running clinic is a six-week program that meets five days a week. Three days are dedicated to running and two days are for indoor cycling. The first day of the clinic, participants complete a mock PT test. Participants are then retested in the seventh week for overall improvements.

“We have a set protocol, a consistent workout,” Shults said. “We progress it as people qualify and intensify their workouts as the session gets closer to the end of the six weeks.”

Feedback from participants has been positive so far.

“They love it,” Shults said. “Everybody is happy and excited. They all think I’ve done the work, but they’re the ones that have done it. All I do is show up and tell them what to do.”

Tech. Sgt. Olga Kelley, 56th Medical Group information technician, completed the program and had nothing but good things to say about the program.

“I felt completely amazing,” Kelly said. “I lost all my baby weight post pregnancy, and the morning PT really energized me for the rest of the day. I ended up scoring an ‘excellent’ on my PT test. It was an amazing feeling.”

The running clinic gave Kelly a new passion for fitness.

“Since the running clinic, I have a new sense of stress release,” Kelly said. “I am an active participant in Cross Fit, and running has become a passion of mine. This class really helped me with my confidence and to create a healthy lifestyle.”

Seeing participants improve is the best part for Shultz.

“The program shows that if you work hard, show up and do what you are supposed to do, people improve,” Shults said. “It’s nice. It feels like we are making a difference when people are improving.”

This is the fifth running clinic the HAWC has conducted since August 2012. The current clinic just began and goes to Aug. 23. For more information or to sign up, call the unit fitness program manager.




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