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Air Force Families Share Tips on Keeping Fit while Adjusting to Climate Changes

From the coast of Virginia to the panhandle of Florida to the mountains of Colorado and finally on to the island of Bahrain – this month’s top FitFamily point earners share one thing in common – adjusting to new geographical conditions with their family often means finding alternate  fitness routines.

Meet the Edwards Family
Major Christopher Edwards and wife Maria love gardening, walking, yard beautification and frankly anything that keeps them together, active and outdoors. The climate is tropical in the Gulf of Mexico at Hulburt Field AFB, Florida, and remains fairly constant and enables the Edwards’ to do year-round outdoor activities. Since Maria was raised in a similar climate, the only real adjustment this summer has been to do their outdoor exercises early in the morning or later in the evening when it’s a bit cooler. Temperatures accompanied by the humidity in Florida can be stifling, so the Edwards caution families new to the area to be aware and go slowly while they adapt.

Living in a tight-knit community creates a great environment to learn and routinely share with each other. One passion Chris and Maria share with their military neighbors is the exchange of produce from their garden and the new ideas it represents. They also enjoy the FitFamily site because of the variety of ideas presented including the trading of information with other military families. In fact, because of this month’s website focus on swimming and golf, Chris was motivated to take up swimming again. Following military swim training protocol, Chris is diligent about laps at the local base pool and has encouraged Maria to participate as well. Since swimming is a new endeavor for Maria, she’s chosen to take swim lessons and offers this fitness advice:

“Accept your limitations and yes, even your fears – but always be open to new ideas”. Chris also shares words of encouragement to military members and their families around the world, “Attitude is everything! Every journey, whether long or short, begins with a single step. The key is adapting inclusive behavior patterns where more are always welcome. AF Core values is a commonality that binds its members together without much effort!”

Meet the Pulliam family
A1C Devon Pulliam and husband Scott, (newly bearing the status of civilian) found themselves transferred to beautiful Peterson AFB, Colorado Springs during the dead of winter.  Daughter Emma, 4 and son Austin, 2 were pretty unaffected, but Devon and Scott found it wasn’t so much the snow that forced change to their routine, (and snow in the area can stay around well into the Spring) but rather it was the altitude. Headaches (often the onset of altitude sickness) were becoming frequent, especially if they took trips to Pikes Peak and other points of interest in the area. So they learned – and of course recommend to all new residents in the area – to hydrate, frequently and abundantly.

While a healthy lifestyle wasn’t blatantly emphasized during their own childhood, (even though they were raised in a community where outdoor play was predominant) because of overweight family members, they want to be certain their children learn early not just about exercise but nutrition as well. They use the FitFamily site as a tool not only to track fitness goals, but also to involve the entire family in the tasks that keep a home running smoothly and teach responsibility to the children.

Altitude and snow are just a few of the climate conditions they face in their area – summer typically brings frequent afternoon showers as well.  Devon offers the following tip, “Get Out, Get Up and Get Fit doesn’t mean all activity has to be done outdoors. With a little research and for very little cost, you’ll find so much is available on your base like indoor swimming pools, gyms with family rooms for the kids, play-dates with other families, roller-skating in the garage – or just walking in the rain!”   The Pulliam's are determined to provide for their children an opportunity to participate in every sport offered at the Youth Center – something they themselves missed as children.  Devon’s outlook? – “A healthy lifestyle is a reward to yourself, your family and your community”!

Meet the Hall family
The Hall family, a dual military family, is currently split between Langley AFB, Virginia and Bahrain. CMSgt Claudette Watler-Hall keeps the stateside family fires burning along with their very involved and active teen-aged children, Montia 16 and Lamont 13 while MSgt Lamont (Monty) Hall is serving in Bahrain. Moving from an assignment in Italy to Virginia presented a real challenge for the Hall’s when it came time to get back into their fitness routine – in fact Claudette claims they became sedentary! She is a staunch advocate of getting back into your normal routine as quickly as possible and using on-base resources like the Fitness and Youth Center to explore what activities are available.

With Montia very involved in competitive cheerleading and all related conditioning sports and Lamont proclaiming to be the next soccer ‘Pele”, the children’s fitness activities are already carved out by their respective sports. For Claudette, fitness starts at 4:00 a.m. with running and continues through the day with PT at her unit. She offers advice to all families new to the Langley AFB area to hydrate properly, “It’s a very humid climate and you can easily be caught off-guard if you aren’t prepared”. As for Monty, arriving in a climate with 140° temperatures and 120% humidity had been a tremendous adjustment. All his fitness is now conducted indoors and with a night-shift work schedule, it’s requiring his full focus to keep motivated.  

Claudette logs most of the family’s points at the FitFamily site and said you can easily delineate who does what in the family based on the activity – Lamont’s points are all based on sports; Montia’s points reflect the activities supporting her cheerleading, while Claudette and Monty’s are related to running the household. Claudette offers the following suggestion to other families who want to Get Up, Get Out and Get Fit together, “Plan it into your week and stick to the plan; even when you feel like skipping out on it.  Start small (short walks, 15 minute trampoline time, 30 minutes at the local pool, etc.), but above all else, keep it fun!”


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