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HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. - Melanie Smithers gives instructions to class members during a Boot Camp fitness class at the Fitness Center on Jan. 7. The Fitness Center offers a variety of classes that combine cardiovascular workouts with muscular strength and conditioning. (U.S. Air Force photo by Mark Herlihy)
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Changes made to fitness program

Posted 1/14/2011   Updated 1/14/2011 Email story   Print story


by Sarah Olaciregui
66th Air Base Group Public Affairs

1/14/2011 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- Based on feedback from Airmen, changes to the fitness program took effect on Jan. 1 and Hanscom military members should be aware. All updates can be found in the Air Force Guidance Memorandum at the beginning of Air Force Instruction 36-2905.

Compliance with the program is mandatory and the new guidance memorandum outlines notable clarifications from the original July 1 guidance, such as specified waist-measurement procedures, sit-up and push-up instruction and clarity of target-component values to achieve an overall passing score.

"These changes should help reduce ambiguity or misinterpretation of the instructions," said Capt. Joe Green, 66th Force Support Squadron commander. "We hope the updates will help Airmen be able to achieve the highest possible scores."

The updated AFI includes some of the following revisions:

-- For push-ups, Airmen will place their palms or fists on the floor, with hands slightly wider than shoulder width apart and elbows fully extended. Feet should be no more than 12 inches apart and should not be supported, braced or crossed. Elbows will be bent at 90-degree angles and arms should be fully extended but not locked in the up position for the push-up to count. The Airman's chest may touch, but not rest or bounce on the floor. Airmen may move their hands or feet from the floor or bridge or bow their backs, but only in the up or rest position; resting any other body part on the floor is not allowed. Any resting other than in the up position will cause the test to terminate, and the score will be based on the correct number of push-ups performed to that point.

-- For sit-ups, members will cross arms over the chest so that any part of the hands or fingers remains in contact with the shoulders or upper chest at all times. Members may not grab onto their shirt, as it makes it difficult to determine if proper contact is being maintained. Airmen may request that their feet be held down by the assessor's hands or knees, but the assessor may not anchor members by holding behind the calves or by standing on the feet. When members' hands or fingers come completely away from the chest or shoulder, or if their buttocks or heels leave the ground, the repetition will not count. The member may request a member of the same gender to hold the feet and that request must be granted. Where available, an anchored toe-hold bar may be used.

-- If an Airman becomes injured or ill during the fitness assessment and is unable to complete all required components, he or she will have the option of being evaluated at the Medical Treatment Facility, but their test will still count unless rendered invalid by the unit commander based on the results of the medical evaluation.

-- Any attempts to alter heart rate, such as intentional slowing or stopping during the walk, are violations and will cause the test to be terminated, resulting in test failure. Airmen testing via the 1.0-mile walk are required to walk, not run, as quickly as possible, keeping at least one foot in contact with the ground at all times.

-- Any Airmen deployed for less than one year to a location that administers fitness assessments may complete fitness assessments on a volunteer basis only. Airmen will automatically be considered "exempt" if they are in a deployed location and their current fitness assessment expires.

-- It is the responsibility of the member to remain current at all times.

-- Commanders will exempt Airmen who are on terminal leave or permissive temporary duty in conjunction with retirement or separation, incarceration, on appellate leave or excess leave pending separation from the fitness assessment.

-- Recognition patches for members achieving and maintaining "excellent" fitness assessment scores is deleted.

The procedures for testing outside have also been slightly altered. Environmental condition changes for the 1.5-mile run and 1.0-mile walk courses include that cold stress temperatures must be greater than or equal to 20 degrees F with wind less than or equal to 15 mph sustained or less than or equal to 20 mph gusting. The instructions signal that there should be no significant rain. For those testing on a wet day, the temperature must be greater than 34 degrees, including wind chill. Finally, during hot days, the wet bulb globe temperature must be less than or equal to 86 degrees F at the start of the run or walk.

To help Airmen do well on the fitness assessment, a video will soon be available online. It will contain instructions for administering and taking the test, procedures for proper form, do's and don'ts and common pitfalls to avoid during push-ups and sit-ups. The video will be posted to www.afpc.randolph.af.mil/affitnessprogram/index.asp sometime this quarter.

In the meantime, both the Fitness Center and Health and Wellness Center offer a variety of classes to help Airmen improve their fitness scores. The Fitness Center has several classes available on their calendar, with priority for active duty personnel who need assistance in improving their fitness performance. The classes combine a cardiovascular workout with muscular strength and conditioning. The HAWC also offers classes targeting muscular strength and endurance, as well as running form and detailed information on maximizing nutritional intake in order to meet certain goals. Additionally, the HAWC has an exercise physiologist and dietician available for individual counseling for members who would like more individual attention.

For a listing of all Fitness Center classes, visit www.hanscomservices.com/FitnessandSportsCenter.asp. For further information, contact the Fitness Center at 781-377-3639 and the HAWC at 781-377-6560.

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