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Personal fitness goals, one step at a time

By C. Todd Lopez

BOLLING AIR FORCE BASE, Washington, D.C. (April 19, 2007) -- Achieving your fitness goals, or even getting started on a fit lifestyle, doesn't need to be hard -- if you do it one step at a time.

Airmen in the Bolling community are now working towards their own fitness goals under the "Step Your Way to Fitness" program. Program participants are grouped into teams of three, and are each given pedometers to wear on their hips. Individual participants are challenged to do 10,000 steps a day, while as teams, they compete for prizes, said Isaac Melendez, director of the Bolling Fitness Center.

"This is a walking program, but anything you do, from walking to going on the elliptical, cross training or stepping machines counts, so long as the pedometer is registering on your waist and you are moving," he said. "This program is for everybody, to get people moving. And the team element has been a good motivating factor. You can see people out on Bolling walking with their teams."

Maj. Pamela Howard-Whitehurst, with the Air Force Concept of Operations office in Roslyn, Va., lives on Bolling Air Force Base. She says if she hasn't gotten her 10,000 steps in by the end of the duty day, she finishes up after work, with her family.

"I check my pedometer when I get home from work, and if I haven't done what I'm supposed to do, then I go out walking with my kids," she said. "But I've been walking from the Metro every day. And I've been paying more attention to the walking I'm doing."

Master Sgt. Cachyrel Ainslie, 11th Logistics Readiness Squadron, gets her daily steps in addition to the physical training her unit does three times a week. She says with the weather getting better it'll be easier for her, and her team, to reach their goals.

"I'm not at my goal yet," she said. "With the cold weather, I haven't been as aggressive as I could be. But with the weather changing now and it starting to get beautiful outside, I will be."

The "Step Your Way to Fitness" program began April 8 and runs until May 5. Teams report their weekly scores to the fitness center each Monday. Winning teams receive prizes such as bags, hats and shirts, Melendez said. The top five teams will win.

For more information on the "Step Your Way to Fitness" program, contact Isaac Melendez at the Bolling Fitness Center.