DVIDS – News – Prepare for PT Testing with Diet, Weight Tracking, and More

Coronavirus has left the nation in lockdown status for more than a year, and it has come with difficulties eating healthy, staying in shape, and staying responsible as the U.S. Air Force’s physical fitness test is delayed.

With the nation gradually reopening, physical fitness assessments are set to resume in April 2021, according to the Air Force public affairs secretary.

Airmen should plan ahead to get back on course and do their part to maintain the combat readiness of the entire armed forces.

“[When the coronavirus started]The gyms were actually closed, ”said Kirk Clark, coordinator and physiologist for the 341st Operational Medical Readiness Squadron for Health Promotion. “People who sometimes had a fixed schedule for training every day had to figure out how to change their entire routine from scratch.”

Some people relying on their job as the sole source of exercise were on leave or laid off at the start of the pandemic.

“Whatever a person’s normal level of activity prior to the coronavirus got a little lower as a result,” said Clark.

“The Department of Defense as a whole saw slight weight gain,” he added. “While it’s not overly dramatic as it only runs for a 12 month period, it’s still significant enough to be worrying.”

Extra weight means extra risk
“We need to look at this weight gain and compare it to the readiness of our flyers,” said Clark. “Does this put our aircraft at a higher risk of injury?”

With the added weight gain seen across the country during the pandemic, only an extra 15 pounds of weight puts a strain on the body, especially if it hasn’t seen constant movement after a period of time.

“With that extra weight on our body, we’re at a higher risk of injury,” said Clark. “Being overweight does the body no favors. It can affect blood pressure, cholesterol, and everything else. “

Clark also noted that members’ physical and mental health are directly related, whether it be due to their physical fitness level or due to the pandemic.

“There has been an increase in anxiety, depression and weight gain across the country,” he said. “What we have eaten affects our health as well, not just our physical health.”

Functional health – what does it mean to eat healthily?
There was food shortage throughout the COVID as fewer deliveries were made during the lockdown status. The lack of availability has had an impact on people’s diets, which, according to Clark, creates additional effects.

“If you want to eat a certain type of food, how do you feel about it?” said Clark. “Are you depressed, anxious, angry, or overall emotional without knowing why?

“Diet controls chemicals, chemicals control our emotions, and that’s where our base’s licensed clinical nutritionist and nutritionist comes in,” he added.

Gabriella Darrow, 341st Nutritionist and Nutritionist at OMR, provides tools that Airmen and their loved ones can use to plan their diet so they can continue to function healthily.

“We discuss nutritional, social, and medical history to educate patients about the best food choices to prevent or treat certain diseases, improve weight management, and improve the quality of life through functional nutrition,” said Darrow.

“My main goal is for people to develop positive and mindful relationships with food and how your food intake choices affect your energy levels, mood, physical abilities, and how you can achieve more functional years as you age,” she continued.

Proper diet directly affects aviators’ readiness about their health, increases morale, and improves overall wellbeing.

“Physical fitness and diet play a huge role in preparing, performing, and recovering from PT tests,” Darrow said. “Kirk and I are here to guide you through the entire process.

“[Whether] You need help getting back in shape, need advice on what to eat before testing for score optimization, how you are eating to recover from exercise, or improving overall functioning, we can help, ”she said .

On track to pass PT
“Because of the coronavirus, our PT tests were suspended – they didn’t go away,” said Clark. “Now we have people who look at themselves and realize that they may be out of shape due to extra weight or simply unhealthy eating habits.”

The health promotion team of Clark and Darrow provides Airmen and their family members with machines that they can use to schedule their body’s composition.

“[These machines] Use methods to measure muscle mass, body weight, body fat, water weight, and metabolic rate, to name a few, “said Clark.

Determining metabolic rate allows individuals to become committed to diet in order to optimize their caloric intake for specific fitness goals.

The body composition machines in Health Promotions can also track a person’s body composition and visually apply it to a graph or chart to show progress over a period of time.

The information is used to determine whether the numbers are considered risky (low or high body fat), lean or excess fat, and what is considered healthy according to the person’s body mass index.

Once the assessment is complete, individuals will be given guidance on how to achieve the desired goal and how much caloric intake should be in order to make it a reality.

“The health promotion team offers a variety of services related to diet and exercise,” said Darrow. “We are passionate about helping you meet your fitness goals and promoting a fun and sustainable approach that will not only help you achieve them, but also find joy in exercise and eating to improve overall wellbeing . “

To make an appointment regarding machinery, diet, or exercise, contact Kirk Clark at 406-731-2404 or Gabriella Darrow at 406-731-2178.

Recording date: March 29, 2021
Release Date: 03/29/2021 12:18 PM
Story ID: 392490
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