Progressive fitness program can enhance physical performance

Ashley Kessler (left), United States Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine research athletic trainer, coaches Maj. Pamela Paulin, USAFSAM Public Health consultant, during her training session. (U.S. Air Force photos/Stacey Geiger)

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Ashley Kessler (left), United States Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine research athletic trainer, coaches Maj. Pamela Paulin, USAFSAM Public Health consultant, during her training session. (U.S. Air Force photos/Stacey Geiger)

The United States Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine is seeking volunteers to participate in a 15-week progressive fitness program that can enhance overall physical performance and improve Air Force fitness assessment scores.

“This research was originally developed through exercise physiology consultative work our team was performing at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and we recognized a need for improved fitness guidance for our Airmen,” said Molly Wade, research physiologist. “Airmen were being discharged from physical therapy and though recovered from their injury, did not know how to get back into a safe exercise routine. The same thing was happening with Airmen who failed their fitness assessment.”

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Participants in the program will receive expertise from experienced sports medicine staff who will provide Airmen with guidance on achieving fitness goals, safely increasing exercise and mitigating the risk of future injuries.

Staff includes KBRwyle Research Athletic Trainers Ashley Kessler and Lisa Cox, and Oak Ridge Institute of Science and Engineering Research Athletic Trainer Hannah Kohne, all of whom have experience training collegiate athletes and military populations.

The research study began in April and will run until December 2019. To date, participants enrolled in the program are achieving positive results. Kessler said 82 percent of those who have taken the fitness assessment while enrolled have passed.

“We have also seen improvements in leg strength in all subjects, and 87 percent of subjects have improved leg power (as measured by broad jump distance) and anaerobic endurance (as measured by shuttle run time), all of which are linked to a reduced risk of future injury,” said Kessler.

At the Wright Field Fitness Center, Area B, participants will work one-on-one with a personal trainer to set up individualized programs to help obtain their personal goals. Participants will receive one-hour training sessions three days a week Monday, Tuesday and Thursday; times are available mornings and afternoons.

Kessler said each session will include a dynamic warm-up; plyometrics; strength training with weights, bands, machines and medicine balls; cardiovascular training; and a stretching cool-down. Proper techniques and tips for passing the Air Force fitness assessment are also addressed as well as individualized injury preventative exercises as needed.

To be eligible for the fitness program, participants must be active duty, ages 18 to 55, a non-smoker for at least six months and must have been discharged from physical therapy within six months and/or have scored below an 80 on a physical training test.

Participants will also receive a heart rate monitor to track their workouts; each will go through objective testing to track their progress throughout the 15 weeks.

For more information or to apply for the fitness program, call 937-904-9321 or email Hannah.Kohne.ctr@us.af.mil.

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