Safety, injury prevention important with new PT standards

  • Published
  • By Nicole Turner
  • Staff Writer
With new physical training standards implemented by Air Force Instruction in July 2010, active duty men and women need to focus on exercising safely and preventing injuries.

The new AFI requires active duty Air Force members to test twice a year and includes a faster run time to get the same amount of points, as well as more sit-ups and pushups.

"Now they have to meet minimal requirements, not just a 75 or better," said Karen Blackwell, Health Promotions manager at the Health and Wellness Center in the 72nd Aerospace Medicine Squadron. "Most people will have to sustain a rigorous exercise program in order to do well on the tests."

Ms. Blackwell said injuries can be prevented though, with proper techniques and exercise monitoring. She said anyone who wants to improve their fitness level should follow the FITT guidelines, which stands for Frequency, Intensity, Time and Type.

"People need to make sure they're following a sensible program. They need to always include a warm-up and be sure to exercise at their own level," Ms. Blackwell said.

The most common types of injuries include back injuries, sprained ankles and shin splints, among many others. These occur from improper exercising, not following the FITT principle and going outside the parameters and also, if they have a weight issue.

Capt. Amanda Huston, public health flight commander in the 72nd AMDS, is responsible for all public health programs at Tinker, including generating Individual Medical Readiness rates, or IMR rates.

"We try to be at 80 percent or better at all times because this reflects that 80 percent of the active duty Air Force members on this installation are ready to be deployed at a moment's notice," Captain Huston said.

She said one of the factors that keeps Tinker at or below 80 percent and not higher are people who are on mobility restricting profiles, which are profiles that prevent them from deploying. As of December 2010, 11 percent were on these types of profiles.

"Some of these are temporary," Captain Huston said, "such as those profiles for people with broken bones; others are permanent mobility restrictions due to a chronic disease. Though, some of these profiles could be prevented by people exercising safely. Safety first, safety last and safety always still applies."

Ms. Blackwell said that the HAWC offers several classes on fitness and physical training, such as a running clinic.

"If they are unsure what to do to prevent injuries, we are always here to help," Ms. Blackwell said.

She said active duty members can also go to any of the fitness specialists at the base gyms, as well as their Physical Training Leaders, or PTLs, in their units for help with passing a physical training test safely without injuries.