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Wing Health & Wellness Challenge—a recipe for lifelong fitness

By Martin Zeilig


Colonel Aaron Spott, 17 Wing Commander, is, as he wrote in an email to The Voxair, “pleased with the participation and results achieved so far” during the inaugural Wing Health & Wellness Challenge.

“Let’s face it, the pandemic had an exceptionally negative effect on our daily routines, and in particular, time set aside for physical fitness and personal wellness,” he said.

 

“Throw in our ops tempos, lack of personnel, kids sports, schooling and daycare, and it is easy to see how physical fitness - for many – has been at best pushed into the background of our lives, or at worst, dropped off completely. The Wing Health & Wellness Challenge, by way of a little inter-unit competition, is merely a way to recognize those members who are already making fitness and wellness a priority, as well as encouraging the rest of us to newly adopt, or reintroduce to our lives, these core aspects of being a Canadian Armed Forces member.”

 

Diane Brine, Manager Health Promotion, points out that the Wing Commander’s Challenge “was developed with all of PSP’s contributions “to talk about getting the base moving forward.”

The Wing Commander wanted a challenge that would get his members out and moving about away from their desks, she added during an interview with The Voxair.

“So, we developed a challenge that focused on five basic things, active minutes, getting people away from their desks and moving around, going to a fitness class either here or near their home.” Ms. Brine explained.

“It doesn’t matter what they do as long as they do a fitness course. They also got points for taking part in PSP activities, whether that was activities at the mess that Health Promotion puts on or that Community Recreation puts on or activities that Sports and Fitness puts on to get them to use our programming.”

There is also a bonus challenge every month, she added.

For example, in January it was to get outside for 30 minutes every day.

“To get outside and appreciate what winter is all about,” Ms. Brine said.

“February’s challenge is all about gratitude. February is heart month.”

“The Wing Health & Wellness Challenge, by way of a little inter-unit competition, is merely a way to recognize those members who are already making fitness and wellness a priority, as well as encouraging the rest of us to newly adopt, or reintroduce to our lives, these core aspects of being a Canadian Armed Forces member,” Col Spott said.

 

“To keep things interesting, we are going to ensure we recognize top performers and units, but at the end of the day it will be an individual responsibility to accept the challenge to improve their own fitness and wellness levels.”

 

Captain Paul Radosh, an instructor Barker College, has been one of the participants in the Challenge.

 

“I think the program has benefitted me immensely,” he said during a telephone interview.

 

“It’s been a great motivator for me. It’s a great way to track my physical activity, as well as my volunteer activity in the community.  I’m the cantor for an Italian choir at Holy Rosary Italian Catholic Church, and play the cello for the four thirty (PM) English mass at the church. I also sub in for the cantor at the English mass at twelve noon. That gives me volunteer points. I’d be doing it anyway, but it’s kind of nice to be recognized for that.”

 

He added that overall this is an excellent initiative by the Wing Commander to encourage 17 Wing members to exercise and get out of doors, volunteer for the community and pursue the monthly bonus activities.

 

“For February, the bonus points are for practicing mindfulness, either sit and meditate or write down three things you’re grateful for at the end of the day,” Capt Radosh said.

 

“It’s a really great way to bolster unit cohesion and pride.”

 

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