Military Feature: Center focuses on wellness

By Sharna Johnson and Tonya Fennell: CNJ staff writers

They teach Cannon Air Force Base airmen how to eat, how to shop for groceries, how to exercise and more — all in the interest of promoting overall health and wellness.

Airmen can go to the Health and Wellness Center at Cannon for advice and guidance on just about any topic relating to healthy habits.
Flight Chief M.J. Anderson, said every airman is required to pass a yearly physical fitness test, which includes push-ups, sit-ups and a one-and-a-half mile run.

“We are pushing physical fitness,” Anderson said.

The physical fitness program, called Fit to Fight, was started in January 2004.

Anderson said the largest population at Cannon is males who are less than 25 years of age. These young male airmen are required to complete 62 push-ups in one minute, 55 sit-ups in one minute, and run a mile-and-a-half in nine minutes and 36 seconds.

Staff Sgt. Jonathan Jackson, 24, said he works out three times a week. While at the gym, Jackson runs on the treadmill and does push-ups and sit-ups so he will be ready for the physical fitness test.

According to Cannon Public Affairs spokesperson Staff Sgt. Robert Williams, Cannon airmen are given time for physical training during their duty day.

Healthy lifestyle and physical fitness are high on the list of priorities for the Air Force, according to Cannon spokesman Lt. George Tobias.

Tobias serves as physical training leader for the public affairs flight and said his group meets three times a week for mandatory exercise involving cardio, strength, vascular training and more.

“We need to be physically fit, especially to fight our nation’s wars,” he said. “If we’re out of shape and we can’t do our jobs, then we can’t answer our nation’s call or deploy.”

Although fitness is paramount to base officials, they aren’t stopping there.

The Health and Wellness Center offers a variety of classes and programs to get healthy.

Anderson said the tobacco cessation program helps smokers and other tobacco users kick the habit.

“We use the American Cancer Society’s Fresh Start Program,” she said, “and the program has blossomed.”

Other programs include nutritional counseling, prenatal fitness and cholesterol education classes.

“Some people who come here (to Cannon Air Force Base) have never even grocery shopped before,” Anderson said. “We’re (HAWC) here to fill that void.”