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The Four Pillars to a Healthy Life

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Marty Anderson
  • 90th Missile Wing command chief
As the weather warms I see more and more Airmen moving their physical fitness exercise regimen from the gym to outside (please don't forget to render proper respect to the flag during Reveille and Retreat).
I expect everyone to pass the physical fitness test -- absolutely no excuses (except medical conditions.) Not only is physical fitness important to a healthy body but also to a healthy life. The Four Pillars to a Healthy Life are mental, social, spiritual and physical. I truly believe the physical pillar has a profound impact on the other three.
I have personally witnessed Airmen's disposition about life change after implementing a fitness routine. After disciplining themselves and committing to working out three to five times a week, they began to lose weight. The Airmen started to feel better about who they were and projected more self-confidence.
Because they reduced their stress levels, they were more positive and enjoyable to be around, greatly impacting their social life. What was truly great to observe was how other Airmen would make positive comments about how they noticed the weight loss and noticed a change in their personality. This change in their self-concept had a profound impact on their mental well-being.
As they gained more confidence about themselves and felt good about themselves, they wanted to get more out of life by being more adventurous. They had a positive outlook on life and those around them.
The four pillars build individual resiliency, the ability to bounce back from negative life situations. Many problems are compounded because a person's emotions are so high they cannot think straight, leading to more bad decisions. Exercising helps clear the mind, allowing the member to make smarter choices, even during difficult times, to resolve the crisis and not add to it.
Physical fitness also develops character. During intense workouts character flaws are quickly identified, those who quit, those who take short cuts or those who don't give 100 percent. But for those Airmen that give everything -- they have heart and commitment.
Equally impressive to observe, is the camaraderie displayed when Airmen work out together. There is something unique to our military culture when a member is struggling and a fellow Airman is motivating the member not to give up on the goal in sight. A bond is developed that can never be broken. Then to see the sense of accomplishment on the Airman's face -- that is truly when the change starts to take place.
Because of physical fitness, the Four Pillars of a Healthy Life are taking shape. I have more respect for those individuals who never give up no matter how challenging life gets -- and I am not just referring to physical training!