Leadership Ideas, Information and News

Monday, February 11, 2013

Resiliency: Everybody's got time for that

by Staff Sgt. Brandon Shapiro
6th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

2/11/2013 - MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla.  -- The military lifestyle is exceptionally fast-paced, demanding and hectic; however, through a series of focused actions, combating unforeseen stressors can become second nature.

Resiliency strengthening is the catalyst needed to get through hard times.

The masterminds behind ensuring the well-being of Airmen and their families have been working overtime to find ways of improving "Comprehensive Airman Fitness." They've determined greater focus should be placed on four "wellness pillars" in order to maximize one's resiliency: physical, mental, social and spiritual.

Physical resiliency involves a balanced and healthy diet, regular exercise and the ability to project a professional image.

As stated, sticking to a healthy diet is just one of three essential elements that make up physical resilience, and through a few quick diet changes you can increase alertness, concentration, calmness and relaxation.

Have you ever heard the phrase, "You are what you eat?" Well, that is exactly true. Those that find themselves nibbling on junk food for a quick snack are only setting themselves up for failure. These snacks appear to be harmless, but in all actuality every time someone eats candy or drinks a soda, not only are they signaling their body to store fat--they're disassembling their own muscle, noted Dr. Helen Hazuda, professor of medicine at University of Texas Health Science Center.

How about breakfast? Are you making sure you start your day off with wholesome foods that contain enough vitamins, minerals, and carbohydrates to fuel your day? If not, you have failed yourself before you have even started.

To jumpstart your healthy approach, start with a small, yet nutritious breakfast. Second, make sure that you are eating at least four to five moderate meals a day; this will increase your metabolism, which subsequently increases your fat burning and energy storage. Lastly, refrain from snacking late at night and make sure you include foods from all the major food groups: grains, fruits and vegetables, milk and dairy, meat, and fats and simple sugars.

Although proper eating habits are a great start, without the essential caveat of regular exercise, their effects will have diminishing returns. Exercise has long been a key to what we now call resiliency and what the first recorded exercisers, the Greeks, called their "healthy mind in a healthy body," philosophy.

Exercise prepares the body both mentally and physically. Implementing at least a 20-minute cardio and 20-minute strength training routine five times a week will prepare you for the mental and physical challenges you may encounter. Additionally, regular exercise helps promote weight control, combats health conditions and diseases, improves your mood, boosts your energy and increases the effectiveness of sleep.

The bottom line is that physical activity and exercise are great ways to improve your mood, increase your health and relieve unwanted stress.

Through balanced and healthy eating habits and frequent exercise, the third essential element of physical resilience all but falls into place; projecting a professional image.

"A polished professional military image will not only make you stand out among your peers, but reflects how confident you are," noted Lt. Col. Mark Horner, the former 380th Expeditionary Force Support deployed squadron commander. "It provides others with a sense of credibility in your abilities."

Thus said, it's apparent that with increased confidence and credibility, both mood and production will subsequently increase.

Resiliency, although it may seem cut and dry, cannot be fixed overnight, it's an ongoing process--that starts with you!

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