Health & Safety

October 18, 2013

Being active comes loaded with benefits

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Senior Airman GRACE LEE
56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Airman 1st Class Kory Hickok, 310th Aircraft Maintenance Unit weapons load crew member, spots Staff Sgt. Kris Steele, who is also a weapons load crew member, Oct. 8 at the Luke Air Force Base Bryant Fitness Center. Staying active is key to lowering the likelihood of diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Getting healthier isn’t just about making the correct food choices, it also involves becoming less sedentary and taking on a more vigorous lifestyle.

“Keeping your body moving and active helps to fight diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol,” said Sherri Biringer, 56th Force Support Squadron fitness specialist supervisor. “Making fitness a part of your lifestyle is very important because it makes your body go from disease prone to healthy. Also, when your body is healthy you will find it easier to make smarter food choices. When you eat more processed foods the body reacts sluggishly as compared to eating healthy.”

Additionally, staying active lowers the chance of becoming overweight because the body’s metabolism increases, causing it to burn fat, Biringer said. The important fat to get rid of is called adipose fat, the fat around the organs. Adipose fat can be reduced by making healthier eating choices.

To reap the health benefits of staying active, Paul Johnson, 56th FSS personal trainer, recommends exercising at least three days a week for 20 to 30 minutes per day.

“Getting active can be fun,” Johnson said. “It can also enhance your mood, elevate energy, make you more competitive in sports and give you the opportunity to meet new people while you’re at it. Some workout ideas are walking, riding a bike, hiking and any other type of aerobics or strength training classes.”

Biringer advises starting slow for those who haven’t been active for a while, whether it be a sport, aerobics class, jogging or spin class.

“If you’re starting again make sure to tell the instructor so they can ensure you will have an enjoyable experience and not get injured,” Biringer said. “The reason most people stop exercising is because it was too intense at first and the muscle soreness they felt the next day. The soreness is actually good if mild, because it’s your body building muscle and getting stronger.”

For Biringer it is beneficial to be involved in a workout group or community.

“Get into a community where everyone there wants you to get healthy, strong and be a little competitive,” Biringer said. “The CrossFit community is huge in helping others meet their goals. The biggest saying in CrossFit is ‘leave your ego at the door.’”

If getting involved in a group isn’t appealing, one can also pair up with a friend or get one’s family involved.

Maintaining an active lifestyle requires self motivation and taking it one day at a time.

“To stay motivated, set goals, whether for a month, three months, six months or even a bigger goal such as the warrior run, signing up for a marathon, getting into a new swimsuit and more,” Biringer said. “Make it fun.”

Another motivation could be the added health benefits.

“Everyone needs to ask themselves if it’s important to have fewer health issues, having a sense of well being, sleeping better or having more energy while feeling better,” Johnson said. “It takes that first day followed by another, then another. You’ll find what type of activities you like best and add to them as you progress through your fitness journey.”




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