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Schriever Airmen stay fit-to-fight year-round

As the days shorten and the weather gets colder, the physical fitness standards for Airmen do not change - they must stay fit-to-fight year-round, regardless of weather conditions.

As the days shorten and the weather gets colder, the physical fitness standards for Airmen do not change - they must stay fit-to-fight year-round, regardless of weather conditions.

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --

As the days shorten and the weather gets colder, the physical fitness standards for Airmen do not change - they must stay fit-to-fight year-round, regardless of weather conditions.

Practicing proper cold-weather safety can keep Airmen fit and safe during the winter months.

Seth Cannello, 50th Force Support Squadron fitness and sports manager, said it’s important for Airmen to stay fit 24/7, 365 to ensure the Air Force has a mission-ready force. He said a primary factor to consider when working out in the cold is proper apparel.

“Don’t wear cotton,” Cannello said. “When you sweat, cotton gets wet and won’t dry. When you’re wet, you lose heat quicker and run the risk of hypothermia. Gloves, hats or beanies are a must.”

Safety is a priority when it comes to physical fitness, if an Airmen experiences any unusual shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, lightheadedness or any unusual symptoms, stop exercising and if necessary, follow up with a health care provider.

“You should be cold when you start [your] workout,” he said.  “If you are comfortable at the start of your workout, you will probably end up shedding layers as your body temperature increases.  It’s hard to carry your extra clothing with you when you are working out, so be careful not to over dress.” 

According to Air Force Instruction 36-2905, “Fitness Program,” Airmen are required to take their physical fitness assessment test in temperatures 20 degrees or warmer with sustained winds under 15 miles-per-hour and gusting winds under 20 MPH.

Airman 1st Class Zachary Jones, 50th FSS career development specialist, was recognized as competitor of the quarter, third quarter, by the base fitness center and scored a 99 on his physical fitness assessment.

“Staying fit-to-fight year-round is important for your health and well-being,” he said. “We have a duty to stay ready for anything the Air Force throws at us.”

Jones said cold weather can lead to injuries and affect Airmen’s physical readiness, preventing them from performing their duties at peak performance.

“Your muscles tighten up,” he said. “This could lead to muscle strains and pulls. Make sure to take advantage of all the time you’re given to stretch and even take a warmup lap to prepare your body for your workout.”

Staying hydrated is important year-round, especially in Colorado with the high altitude and lack of oxygen. People often forget about it in winter because of the snow and ice, but it’s essential to staying healthy, said Jones.

During winter, the days are shorter with more hours of darkness. Airmen should prepare for this and plan accordingly.

“Headlights are important to have with you even if you don’t think you’ll need one,” Cannello said. “I’ve talked to numerous runners that ended up working-out longer than they anticipated and found themselves in bad situations because they couldn’t see.”

Staying mission-ready is an integral part of being in the Air Force. By practicing the proper cold-weather safety tips, Airmen can ensure they’re fit-to-fight year-round.

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