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News > HAWC keeps Airmen fit to fight
Health and Wellness Center promotes healthy lifestyle for Airmen.
An Airman sits inside the BodPod while Rick Myhre, 366th Medical Group exercise physiologist, closes the BodPod’s door Dec. 21, 2011, at Mountain Home Air Force, Idaho. Personnel from the base Health and Wellness Center provide fitness, wellness education classes and physical therapy to military personnel, dependents and retirees. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Benjamin Sutton)
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HAWC keeps Airmen fit to fight

Posted 12/29/2011   Updated 12/29/2011 Email story   Print story


by Senior Airmen Benjamin Sutton
366th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

12/29/2011 - MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho  -- Editor's note: This is the third installment of a three-part series on Airmen's Total Health.

The Health and Wellness Center here provides fitness and wellness education classes to military personnel, dependents and retirees.

Personnel who work at the HAWC are equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to adequately educate and meet the physical health and education training needs each individual.

"Our mission is to help people help themselves develop healthier lifestyles through education, training and classes," said Rick Myhre, 366th Medical Group exercise physiologist. "We also provide circuit training classes, stress management services, a relaxation room and we have the BodPod, which helps us measure lean muscle tissue and individuals body fat percentage."

Two of the classes provided to Airmen are extremely important according to Myhre. One is for personnel who are struggling with the physical training test and the other is the tobacco cessation class.

"Quitting smoking is one of the best ways to improve your individual health," said Airman 1st Class Kristen Steen, 366th MDG physical therapy technician. "We also work with patients who come and see us because of their individual therapy needs. It's important to ensure Airmen are healthy and able to perform their jobs and ultimately deploy."
These assistance programs help Gunfighters continue their physical readiness and can last from a few weeks to few years.

"We have a new six-week weight management program for Airmen which works in conjunction with medical providers," said Myhre. "We monitor eating and workout habits, and upon completion of the program periodically check in with the individual to make sure they are staying with the program."

Many dependents also benefit from the HAWC's assistance.

"In my opinion, the dependents are just as important as our active duty members," said Myhre. "We make sure we have programs designed for the entire spectrum of base personnel who want to be healthier and lose weight. However, we don't forget our responsibility to help Airmen get back to deployment ready status after they have been injured or recently had a surgical procedure."

By assisting Airmen and dependents the HAWC plays a crucial role in Airmen's total health.

"I have personally been working with the Air Force, whether enlisted and as a Department of Defense civilian, since 1986," said Myhre. "Back then we didn't focus as much on the military personnel as we do today. Once the HAWC's were established and Airmen were afforded the opportunity to have better lifestyle education and programs, personnel began taking advantage of these opportunities for better fitness and stress management."

There are even cases where personnel have had their lives saved by a chance visit to a base HAWC.

"I remember an individual came in for a routine blood pressure check and found out they had extremely high blood pressure," said Myhre. "The individual didn't even know there was a problem and felt completely fine. We were able to get that person to a provider who prescribed medication which probably saved the individual's life."

One of the goals of the HAWC is complete physical health in order to help Airmen perform at the peak of their abilities.

"Just remember, we are available for Airmen," said Myhre. "Our job is about protecting and enhancing our resources, which in this case is the Airmen."

For more information contact the MHAFB HAWC at (208) 828-3182.

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