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173 FW takes total fitness to next level

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jacob Williams, a health and fitness trainer assigned to the 173rd Fighter Wing, Oregon Air National Guard, demonstrates proper body position for push-ups to a group of assembled Airmen as part of a fitness and nutrition class, Sept. 7, 2019. The wing has created a Community Health and Wellness Center (CHAWC) in order to support the health, nutrition, and fitness needs of Airmen at Kingsley Field in Klamath Falls, Oregon. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Jason van Mourik)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jacob Williams, a health and fitness trainer assigned to the 173rd Fighter Wing, Oregon Air National Guard, demonstrates proper body position for push-ups to a group of assembled Airmen as part of a fitness and nutrition class, Sept. 7, 2019. The wing has created a Community Health and Wellness Center (CHAWC) in order to support the health, nutrition, and fitness needs of Airmen at Kingsley Field in Klamath Falls, Oregon. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Jason van Mourik)

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. -- Today, the term fitness is everywhere; however, there is often confusion as to how it is actually defined. Within the military, fitness represents a balance between readiness and well-being, where each of those two conditions support each other.

The 173rd Fighter Wing, Oregon Air National Guard, is starting a Community Health and Wellness Center (CHAWC) to support the health, nutrition, and overall fitness needs of Airmen at Kingsley Field.

“Over the years, I have seen a real lack of this resource on base and how that affects people negatively”, said Tech. Sgt. Jennifer Hall, the new health promotion coordinator for the 173rd FW. “We just didn’t have the tools to really help people with fitness and health for a long time.”

The CHAWC’s goal is to create a unified team of qualified and trained individuals who can provide tools for Airmen’s mental, emotional, and physical well-being, said Hall.

“This program isn’t going to be centered on just the annual fitness test, but it is a resource to help people that are struggling,” she adds. “The team provides a holistic approach to making a better Airman.”

The wellness team plans to work alongside the chaplains, mental health professionals, and other resource experts to provide the knowledge, experience and resources Airmen need to make healthy and smart life choices, adds Hall.

Part of the program’s goal is to build partnerships with community organizations who also offer resources for promoting healthy lifestyle choices, from dietary choices to physical exercises and mental health resources.

“Our overall goal is to give our Airmen the tools to be able to create a better life for themselves,” said Tech. Sgt. Rachel Warnick, a CHAWC human performance specialist. “When you’re eating healthy and working out correctly, you are reducing the chance of injury.”

Along with providing nutrition and fitness education now, the CHAWC team plans to incorporate even more in the future such as assisting injured, ill or pregnant members through the healing process, providing smoking cessation support, and even hosting cooking classes.

“We’re here to provide the training and resources to keep our Airmen fit," said Warnick.

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