Commissioned Corps E-Bulletin

January is National Healthy Weight Awareness Month:
Importance of Physical Fitness
January is Healthy Weight Month so get physical and physically activity as it’s proven to help with achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. Officers need to be ready to respond therefore physical fitness is important and need to be aware of any changes to the readiness standards. The following article offers encouragements and suggestions on how and why it is important to be physical active and be physical fit.
Importance of Physical Fitness

 Submitted by LCDR Scott Labrecque

Even though the weather has cooled off, now is not the time to slow down. Physical activity is important. People of all ages who are generally inactive can improve their health and well-being by becoming active with moderate intensity on a regular basis. However, when one changes their level of activity, consult a health-care provider for individual considerations and/or restrictions. The following are some of the identified benefits of a regular exercise program:
  • Control Weight: Physical activity and diet are two important components in controlling your weight. To maintain weight, 150 minutes of moderated-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity is required per week.
  • Reduced risk for cardiovascular disease: Heart disease and stroke are the two leading causes of death in the United States. To reduce risk for this disease, a minimum of 150 minutes/week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity is required.
  • Reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome: A minimum of 120 to 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity will lower rates of Type 2 Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome.
  • Reduced risk of some cancers: Physical activity reduces the risk of colon cancer and breast cancer.
  • Strengthened bones and muscles: A minimum of 120 to 300 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity that includes muscle-strengthening and weight bearing activities can help in preventing bone density loss.
  • Improve your mental health and mood: Aerobic and strengthening exercises for 30-60 minutes 3 to 5 times per week can assist in thinking, learning, and judgment skills.
  • Increase your chances of living longer: People who are physically active for about 7 hours a week have a 40 percent lower risk of dying than those who are active for less than 30 minutes a week. A minimum of 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity is required to reduce this risk.
The Warm Up

Warm up exercises are a critical component in preparing to perform any sport or fitness training program. The purpose of the 10 to 15 minute light physical activity simulating exercises that you are about to perform is to provide a safe muscle preparation by providing a dynamic muscle stretch. Dynamic stretching can be defined as a controlled motion gradually forcing a particular body part pasts its usual range of motion.

Warm up exercises are contrary to the old myth of performing only static stretches prior to any exercise program. Static stretches can be defined by maintaining the position of the muscle while it is under tension causing the muscle to lengthen. Current research has shown that static stretches prior to an exercise program does not have any physiological benefits. Static stretches are shown to be more appropriate at the end of the workout program as part of the cool down, promoting maximum muscle range of motion of the involved muscle group. Cool down exercises should contain 5 to 10 minutes of easy exercise followed by 10 to 20 minutes of stretching.

Exercise Options

Now that you are warmed up and ready to go, what are some exercises that will promote the above health benefits?
  • Moderate Physical Activity: Activity in which respiration and heart rate is increased resulting in the ability to still carry on a conversation.

    1. Walking briskly
    2. Light yard work
    3. Cycling at a casual pace

  • Vigorous Physical Activity: Activity in which respiration and heart rate is increased resulting in the inability to carry on a conversation.

    1. Jogging/running
    2. Swimming laps
    3. Cross-country skiing
    4. Most competitive sports
Implementing an Exercise Program.  Despite the proven benefits of physical activity, more than 50 percent of Americans do not get enough physical activity to provide health benefits. Roughly 25 percent of all adults are not active in their leisure time. Currently, 90 percent of the Corps are basic ready which involves participation in the APFT or the President’s Challenge. This high percentage rate is potentially representative of officers already participating in an exercise program, however, it may only represent a single point of time in an officer’s activity level.

Do you more often fall in the 25 percent category of adults who are not active at all in their leisure time? Or, are you only active intermittently and do not participate in a minimum of 150 minutes a week of moderate intensity aerobic activity? If so, now is not the time to become complacent with your exercise programs, or stall in starting new ones. For the New Year, pledge to yourself and make a commitment to remain active. This will help you stay motivated and stay on track to reach your physical fitness goals for 2011.

  1. Physical Activity and Health. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from
  2. The Importance of Physical Activity CDC USA. Medical News Today. Retrieved from
  3. Noltemeyer M. The Exercise Mistake You Make Before You Take a Single Step. Total Health Breakthroughs. March 16, 2010. Retrieved from


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