Keesler can help you keep your resolutions <br> Part two: be healthier

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Heather Heiney
  • 81st Training Wing Public Affairs
Editor's note: This is the second in a series of four on common New Year's resolutions.

For many people the New Year brings with it the desire to start fresh, set goals and do something to make themselves better in one way or another.

While not everyone creates a resolution each year and those that do tailor their goals to their specific needs, four of the more common resolutions are to quit smoking, be healthier, help others and learn more. Each week throughout the month of January, this series will explore the four resolutions above and how different Keesler agencies can help individuals reach their goals.

Week two: Be healthier.

One of the reasons the goal to become healthier is one of the most common and most difficult resolutions to achieve is because it is an emotional and physical challenge. It is not easy for the body to step outside of its comfort zone and change and the brain attempts to convince the body the effort isn't worth it or that the task is too difficult.

However, people who want to be healthier should remember that the body can adapt to almost anything with enough time and repetition and there is help available for everyone.

At Keesler there is something for everyone including three gyms; three running tracks; a multi-purpose court for tennis, basketball and badminton or volleyball; soccer fields; volleyball courts; a swimming pool; both traditional and disk golf courses; an inline or skateboarding rink; intramural and varsity sports teams; the health and wellness center and outdoor recreation.

Al Ciampa, Keesler exercise physiologist, said that to get more fit people just need to get moving.

"Choose something you enjoy and the likelihood of success increases," Ciampa said.

He said that if someone simply wants to improve their health, all they need to do is walk briskly for 30-45 minutes per day. However, if they have a more specific goal, such as passing the Air Force physical fitness test, they need to tailor their training to that goal.

He said that in his opinion the best way to train for the physical fitness test is to strengthen the core muscles first. This not only helps increase the number of sit ups a person can do, but along with speed work can help decrease run time. Ciampa also said that besides actually doing pushups, another way to build those muscles is to do standing overhead presses.
Along with getting up and moving, those who strive to be healthier should be mindful of what they eat.

Kim Krapcha, HAWC dietitian, said that the easiest way to a healthier diet is to identify problem areas and make small changes over time.

"It is a lifestyle change as opposed to a diet," Krapcha said. "Make your goals obtainable and easy to reach."

She also suggested making short and long-term goals, giving specific numbers instead of using the general terms more or less and getting help from others.

"Things are easier to do in groups of people on the same level," Krapcha said. "It helps you keep support and motivation."

Some specific ways to improve nutrition are eating more meals at home, eating more fruits and vegetables, staying away from pre-processed foods and drinking water.

Almost everyone fails at their fitness goals at some point or another, but Krapcha said that people should use that as a time of reflection to figure out where they went wrong and what they can do to improve.

For more information on free fitness classes and personal trainers, outdoor recreation equipment rental and hours of operation visit For more information about programs and products offered by the HAWC call 228-376-3173.