WASHINGTON – Since the beginning of February, civilians on Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling (JBAB) have been allowed to participate in a physical fitness program while on the clock. The pilot program offers different levels of fitness for a period of three hours a week to be done strictly on the installation.
The program is the vision of JBAB Commander Navy Capt. Anthony T. Calandra, who likens the process to what’s currently in place for service members. Calandra plans on continuing the program for the rest of the month to see how many people are interested or actually participate.
“I think it’s really beneficial for our civilian workforce. We’re going to see what the response is like,” Calandra said. “Since I came aboard as commander, we’ve lost six people to health-related deaths. Something needs to be done to prevent that from continuing.”
Through the installation’s Health and Wellness Center (HAWC), located in the back of Fitness Center I, civilians can get started on working towards a healthier lifestyle. First step is to call and make an appointment for a baseline health assessment with Janet Grund, health promotion manager at the HAWC. An assessment is needed in order to determine any risk factors for individuals, in addition to providing nutritional information for the road ahead.
“There’s a pre-participation questionnaire that needs to be completed by the individual to determine the appropriate level of participation,” Grund said. “If someone is considered a high risk, they will be referred to their primary physician for written approval. Otherwise, people will be offered up to three health and fitness improvement programs to choose from.”
Those programs are a healthy weight program, which highlights nutrition and behavior modification; a cardio program that discusses cardiovascular training tailored to someone’s personal goals and an advanced strength and conditioning program that provides guidance on achieving pre-set goals and occupational requirements.
“No one has to do all three. They can pick whatever they feel is best for them,” said Brett Loehmann, an exercise physiologist at the HAWC. “What we want most is for someone to walk away with the knowledge on how to improve their overall health. This is a simple, effective and efficient way of doing that.”
A class usually runs an hour and a half and includes a discussion on body assessment screening. The fact that the program offers a one-on-one human assessment is a big help to people getting started, according to Loehmann. In his experience, people feel intimidated when starting a workout regimen. He said being in a group of peers at the same level or interest as you helps ease any anxiety.
“It’s a great program that provides individuals the tools they need to manage their own fitness,” said Air Force Lt. Col. Matthew Hanson, medical operations squadron commander at the 579th Medical Group. “We’re excited about this process. It sets the stage for a life-long fitness plan in a comforting and rewarding environment.”
Hanson, who has 15 years experience as a physician, is pleased to see a program like this come to JBAB. He has seen similar programs flourish under the Air Force on installations here and abroad.
Those participating in the civilian fitness program must sign in and out of the HAWC to receive credit. While it’s not mandatory, it’s highly recommended that people also follow up every two weeks or at least once a month for a status update, Grund said. Additional assistance or information is also available at Fitness Center I.
For more information, call the Health and Wellness Center at 202-404-1563 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.