Health Promotions offers classes for improved health, fitness

Health Promotions will feature a training routine to help Airmen improve their 1.5-mile run times for physical fitness tests.

Health Promotions will feature a training routine to help Airmen improve their 1.5-mile run times for physical fitness tests.

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. --

Health Promotions started this year off busy as bees, planning several programs to improve the health of Airmen on Kirtland Air Force Base.

The programs will start in mid- to late February.

Ninety-day challenge

The first will be a 90-day challenge.

“The main goal for the 90-day challenge is for people to get a better grasp on exercise and lifestyle habits related to health,” said base dietitian Kirsten David.

She added there would be pre- and post-challenge Bod Pod assessments for participants. The Bod Pod device determines what percentages of total weight are body fat and lean mass.

“While weight loss is a part of the challenge, it is a small part of the overall goal,” David said.

The program will feature events such as Try It Tuesdays and Walk It Out Wednesdays.

Tuesday will feature emails with healthy recipes or exercise ideas for people to try, while Wednesday will have a meeting at Hardin Field for a 30-minute walk during lunch.

David will also give grocery-store tours at the commissary.

“It will be where to look for healthy foods and pointing out ingredients to watch out for,” she said.

She will host healthy cooking demonstrations as part of the challenge as well.

David said the 90-day challenge is based on points and the more people participate, the more points they will accumulate. At the end, three males and three females will be declared the winners and receive health-related prizes.

Health Promotions Program Coordinator Guy Leahy added the majority of those programs are also eligible for Leadership Pathways points.

Registration for the 90-day challenge runs through Feb. 24 by contacting David at 846-1483.

Healthy Heart classes

Health Promotions is also working on a series on heart health. It will feature classes every other month, alternating between discussing high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

“We have a large number of patients with high blood pressure and high cholesterol,” Leahy said.

Speakers will include disease-management nurses, pharmacists and David and Leahy to cover the range of topics dealing with both issues.

The classes will open by teaching what high cholesterol and high blood pressure are.

Leahy’s portion of the classes will cover control through exercise and weight loss.

“Doing cardiovascular exercises and strength training help to handle both cholesterol and blood pressure,” Leahy said.

David will help teach participants about heart health through diet.

“The diet portion for cholesterol will be teaching about healthy fats to take in and the bad fats to avoid, while for the blood pressure classes, it will be about controlling sodium intake,” she said.

David said with the typical American diet, it is very easy to go over the daily recommended amount of sodium.

Diet and exercise are sometimes not enough, however, and medication may be needed. Leahy said a pharmacist would talk to participants to help them explore options if they need to be on medication.

PT run improvements

Health Promotions will also feature a training routine to help Airmen improve their 1.5-mile run times for physical fitness tests.

“The run is 60 percent of the overall score, so it’s a big part of it,” Leahy said.

He added while most Airmen focus on distance running, this by itself will not optimize run times. To help do that, sprint interval training is required.

“There is a lot of mythology surrounding the run and improving times, and a lot of it is not correct,” he said.

Leahy has partnered with a colleague at Furman University in South Carolina to tailor a routine to fit Airmen at Kirtland.

“The baseline will be a 1-mile run and from there they can see what they have to do to improve their run times,” Leahy said.

The routine is designed to have increased effect on the run, while minimizing the time required for training.

“A lot of Airmen, like our defenders, for example, don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to training because of their mission, so we want to help them improve in what time they do have available,” Leahy said.

Tobacco cessation

Health Promotions will also change how the tobacco cessation classes occur.

“The classes used to run from 8-11 a.m. and it was hard for people to dedicate three hours out of the work day to that,” Leahy said.

Now the tobacco cessation program will be one-on-one consultations scheduled at the convenience of those wishing to quit.

Health Promotions has moved to a new location on the first floor of the 377th Medical Group. Leahy is in Room 1B-133 and David is in 1B-132.

For more information, contact Leahy at 846-1186 or guy.leahy.2@us.af.mil, or David at 846-1483 or kirsten.david.ctr@us.af.mil.