Personal challenge: equal time for TV sports, fitness

  • Published
  • By Col. Greg Touhill
  • 81st Training WIng commander
Did you see the Olympic basketball game between the United States and China? Holy smokes! An estimated one billion people around the world saw some of the world's best athletes pound the hard court in a stunning victory for the Americans. Did you see Michael Phelps shatter the world record in earning his first gold medal of this Olympiad? Wow! How about the NFL preseason? I'm delighted the Steelers took home bragging rights in the "Battle of the Commonwealth" as they beat the Eagles. How about baseball? Will the Rays hang tough or will the Red Sox take 'em? 

Americans typically love athletics. Gen. George Patton is attributed to have said that Americans have always loved to cheer the fastest runner, the toughest boxer, the strongest wrestler and the best team. Today, with TV ratings for professional sports at an all-time high, his words ring true. I'll bet each of you, man or woman, has turned on the TV and watched at least a few minutes of an athletic event over the last week. 

Folks, watching isn't doing, even if you're playing a Wii. Statistics show that a sedentary lifestyle directly contributes to numerous health problems, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, muscular atrophy and many medical terms I can't spell, let alone pronounce. 

During this exciting sports period, I want to offer you a personal challenge: for every minute you spend watching sports on TV this week, try to spend an equal to or greater number of minutes engaged in physical exercise. 

Air Force policy encourages military and civilian employees to work out. We have great gyms, a terrific health and wellness center, and authorize time during the duty day for fitness activities. Check out our wing fitness policy letter for details or see your squadron commander. We don't dictate what type of exercise you engage in -- we want you healthy and fit. 

If you've been sitting on your duff and don't think you can keep up with the youngsters, start out smartly. Walk (yes, walk) over to the HAWC and get some advice on putting together a good plan that will get you in shape. Make time for exercise and incorporate wellness into your daily plan. Come to the gym and watch your sports favorites while working out on the treadmill, elliptical trainer or bikes. Keep a log to track your progress. There are so many healthy and fun options for military and civilians alike. I don't expect you to perform at an Olympic level, yet I do expect everyone to get out and exercise at least three times a week. 

I've presented the challenge to you. I'm going to do it too. I'll be out there in my PT gear ... hope to see you soon!