What fitness means to me...in simple terms

  • Published
  • By Colonel Arnold W. Holcomb
  • 35th Mission Support Group
Leadership, whether in a family, at work, or on a sports team, is best represented by one who is morally, intellectually, and physically fit. Being morally fit involves following rules, creating conditions for success, doing things right, and doing the right things. Intellectual fitness is enhanced by nourishing our minds through reading, interacting with others, learning about other cultures, and experiencing new things to broaden our experience and knowledge bases. Physical fitness requires us to consume the right quantities of the right foods, exercise regularly, and avoid self-denigrating habits such as smoking cigarettes and consuming excessive alcohol. For the purposes of this editorial, I will focus on what physical fitness means to me, personally and professionally.

My personal thoughts on the subject are primarily based on my personal values. In the interest of time, I will discuss only my top value...my family. In his book, Wooden on Leadership, written by the winningest basketball coach in history, John Wooden, he wrote, "I believe there is no more powerful leadership tool than your own personal example.  In almost every way the team ultimately becomes a reflection of their leader." I value my family and know my family depends on my being physically fit and setting a good example. What my children learn from me translates into either success or failure in their adult lives. Developing my children's healthful eating and exercise habits enhances their quality of life now and in the future. My wife and I are not only a team, but we are accountability partners who reinforce the importance of physical fitness to each other and our children.

My professional thoughts on the subject regard the enduring values of people, readiness, and relationships. It is difficult to relate physical fitness solely to one of these values. Like my role as a leader in my family, it is important for me to set the example regarding physical fitness and nutrition for not only members of my group, but all Airmen and civilians who work at Misawa Air Base. Physical fitness translates into improved readiness to contribute effectively and efficiently to a joint force, whenever and wherever. There are also short and long-term fiscal implications to better fitness. Generally speaking, physically fit people are more productive, are absent from work less often, are less stressed-out, and feel better about themselves. Fit people are also less likely to suffer from old-age medical problems. Simply put, physically fit people are less of a short-term and long-term burden on the American taxpayer. Working out at the gym, on the jogging track or trail, or bike paths give people opportunities to develop relationships with others with similar interests. Thus, accountability or workout partners can develop from these relationships.

Physical fitness is an important aspect of being a well-rounded "whole-person" leader. Setting a good example of physical fitness at home and at work is very important for short and long-term efficiencies and effectiveness. You can make a difference by setting the right example.