Using the USAF FitFamily website, Major Christopher W. Edwards, BSC Chief, Environmental Health Branch and his wife, Maria, have achieved numerous health and fitness goals, including reaching the GoalTracker 2 million point Wellness level for the second time!
The couple, who have just celebrated their 18th wedding anniversary, enjoys volunteering their time for the betterment of the community as well as being committed to pursuing the FitFamily GoalTracker fitness goals of “Togetherness, Commitment, Determination, Perseverance, and Wellness.”
STAYING HEALTHY, ACTIVE AND BUSY IS ESSENTIAL
For Maria, as a spouse of a military member soon to be deployed, staying active and busy is essential to healthy living. “I have my faith, family, and a network of friends to reach out to,” she said in a recent interview. “While my husband and I worked at the Medical Clinic Garden Center at Wright-Patterson AFB (WPAFB), we developed a very close connection with our local community. In addition to the garden, I’ll be volunteering at the WPAFB Thrift Shop and Airman’s Attic to support our Airmen here at home.”
Maria Edwards enjoys the many rewards of volunteering, including having an active and busy life that keeps her healthy and fit.
HOW DOES MARIA STAY COMMITTED?
Perhaps the most important advice Maria says she can give is “knowing that trying something new isn’t a commitment to the thing you’re trying out. If it isn’t working out for you, move on to something else! There’s never a shortage on new things to try; sometimes the chemistry isn’t right, so move on to something new. Also, don’t be afraid to revisit something that was difficult the first time around. Sometimes, we limit ourselves without realizing it. Talking with other military spouses can shed light on avenues of adventure we can’t see ourselves traveling. Finding a supportive network of friends and family can help light the way during difficult times.”
COMMUNICATION IS VITAL TO STAYING
MOTIVATED IN THE QUEST FOR GOOD HEALTH
Maria said, “While diet and exercise keep the body in good working order, motivation is achieved through the emotional support provided by communication. Family bonds are strengthened when experiences are shared. Staying connected helps us through the rough patches we inevitably encounter; it’s important to support and know when to be supported, too.”
USAF FITFAMILY WEBSITE HAS NEW HEALTH
AND FITNESS ADVICE EACH MONTH
Her advice for others who want to learn about the USAF FitFamily website is to start at the homepage. “From there,” she said, “its easy to access the calendar feature and articles. There are so many ideas, opportunities and things to try,” she said. “At the very bottom of the home page is ‘Helpful Links,’ which opens up even more possibilities.
“Perhaps the best part, other than the huge selection of recipes in the Healthy Recipes section, is the selection of FitFamily Health Articles,” she continued. “Staying healthy is accomplished through both eating right and exercise.”
MARIA UNDERSTANDS THE HEALTH
BENEFITS OF VOLUNTEERING
Both Chris and Maria have partnered with local Boy Scouts of America to assist with Eagle Scout projects and also volunteered at the local Medical Clinic Garden Center, MGMC, to promote healthy eating and outdoor exercise. Through their work at the Garden Center, they have been quite involved with the Local Chapter of Master Gardeners to support exercise, nutrition, and fellowship. The couple also initiated an Air Force Research Lab (AFRL), USAFSAM, and AFIT Presidential Challenge user group to promote healthy living.
“The recent USAF FitFamily article on the ‘Health Benefits of Volunteering’ was helpful in affirming our commitment as a volunteer family in our local community, because volunteering helps the volunteer as well the recipient,” Maria explained.
“The article outlined several key points, such as higher levels of happiness, life satisfaction, self-esteem--things we knew, just reaffirmed!”
MARIA’S GOALS FOR 2016 CENTER AROUND
LIVING A LONG AND HEALTHY LIFE
“Each year, we target 100 hours of community volunteer hours,” she said. “In 2015, we each accomplished 124 hours. Our goal is to continue to build upon our successes while expanding our ability to positively impact the lives of those around us. While deployed, Chris is going to look for ways to contribute at his location by bringing his knowledge, skill and faith in a better tomorrow by starting a garden there. I’m sure there will be opportunities that I’ll look forward to hearing about. And, I’ll send him progress pictures of the MCGC in the spring when the plants push up from the ground here.”
Gardening is not only Maria’s most favorite activity, it is also the most rewarding for her. “Nothing tastes better than eating food that’s homegrown,” she said. “Volunteering at the local garden spot builds my personal knowledge from Master Gardeners on how to grow things. I learn better ways to prepare foods so they keep their nutritional value, I stay active and keep busy. And, I’ll have something to talk about when I communicate to my husband. It’s all mutually supportive.”
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HOW THE FITFAMILY
GOAL TRACKER WORKS
The FitFamily Goal Tracker is a website where you register to log points for activities you and your family members complete each week.
There are three categories: Family Fun, Family Nutrition and Family Sports and Fitness. Earn 100 points for each individual performing an activity or 1000 points if two adults or one adult and one child perform an activity.
Goals to reach are at five different levels, ranging from 250,000 to 2 million points. March, May and July are double point months, where families can log up to 8,000 points per day!