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155th ARW Implements new Air Force Fitness Standards

  • Published

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. – It’s a cold early morning as Airmen walk into the Offutt Field House ready to take their physical fitness test. Some stretch while others go over in their heads what benchmarks they need to meet in order to achieve a good total score. They then gather at the starting line on the track, the fitness monitor says ‘go’ and the sound of watches beeping happens simultaneously. Off they go.

It has been over a year for some Airmen since their last official fitness test because of force health protection measures during the COVID-19 pandemic, but fitness rems a priority requirement for mission readiness.

“It has been a good year and a half since I had a fitness test. I’ve always been ready, but I was a little worried,” said Staff Sgt. Brandon Darnstaedt, 155th Air Refueling Wing fuels technician. “Even though Covid delayed my testing it helped me out. I kept up with my fitness by running three times a week and working out five times a week.”

Master Sgt. Mandy Denhardt, wing fitness program manager of the 155th Air Refueling Wing, explained how they have made resources available to Airmen throughout the pandemic in order to stay on top of their health and fitness.

“We had access to the YMCA 360 app to help self-direct fitness to our members and recently reached out to the Offutt Health Promotion office,” Denhardt said. “They offer fitness programs that are available to active, reserve, guard and their spouses.”

Health initiatives and fitness apps aren’t the only things that have been implemented to give Airmen a few options when improving health. The Air Force approved a new set of fitness exercises for Airmen to choose from while taking the test.

“The new options are a 20-meter high-aerobic multi-shuttle run for cardiovascular fitness, hand-release pushups for upper body strength and cross-legged reverse crunches or planks for core strength,” Denhardt said. “These alternative options will be available at our unit in April. Remember, these components aren’t easier. They’re just alternative options.”

Some of the new options have gained interest by Airmen that may struggle in particular areas of the fitness test.

“The shuttle run test seems pretty interesting to me, and it might be something I’d like to try,” Darnstaedt said. “I’m not really strong with distance running, so I would like to take a diagnostic test and see how it goes.”

This new set of fitness options not only give Airmen a choice, but also helps guard and reserve units different ways to test their members.

“The new HAMR run is supposed to give some guard and reserve components a way to do cardio for those that don’t have indoor tracks,” Denhardt said. “The requirement for this is a large indoor space with a non-slick surface.”

All the new changes help give members and military installations a new outlook on fitness. Denhardt had advice for Airmen who are preparing for a long-awaited fitness test, or may need help keeping up with it.

“Consistency is key, and you must do it regularly,” Denhardt said. “Accountability buddies always help, and you can challenge each other on fitness apps. Lastly, I would say to start off with small goals that are attainable.”