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NEWS | Dec. 24, 2008

My New Year's resolution: Stay fit

By Airman 1st Class Sylvia Olson 1st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

In the summer of 2007, I attempted to run a mile on my own for the first time. As I ran, my heart began to beat erratically and rapidly, and I was breathless and cursing aloud within minutes. As upsetting as it felt to realize how out of shape I was, my determination to get my body into gear gave me willpower.

Shortly after my attempt to run, I decided to join the Air Force. The decision shocked my family and friends who considered me ultra feminine and far from being fit. Their doubt in me however, only spurred me on and strengthened my resolve.

As a military brat, I'd heard all the stories about basic training and the physical and mental hardships that trainees experienced. To prepare for basic training, I began jogging after work and cut junk food from my diet. I organized my thoughts and made an effort to learn how to be mentally callous.  I was driven to be as ready as possible for whatever the military training instructors, MTIs, would challenge me with.

During basic training, exercise and proper dieting became a lifestyle. My MTI, in a tough-love manner, turned me into an athletic, trim Airman. I could do push ups and sit ups at the drop of a hat and run from sun up till sundown.

At my graduation, I remember seeing the pride and amazement in my family's eyes. I'd proved to everyone that despite my softie ways I was capable of putting them aside and being strong when I needed to be. Although my family always supports me, it was satisfying to make them proud in a new and different way.

January 2009 will mark one year at my first duty station, and it's the perfect time to think about my New Year's resolutions. I think maintaining a healthy and physically fit lifestyle is one of the most important things on the list of things I'd like to improve.

I credit my will and the Air Force for helping me stay in shape. My squadron regularly PTs together and encourages me to exercise during my free time. Langley has two gyms, one of which is within walking distance of the dormitories. There is also an outdoor and an indoor track. With all of these tools around me, I have no excuse not to go work out.

Getting in shape and staying fit is an arduous journey, but it is well worth it. It took willpower, military basic training, and weekly PT with my squadron to help me maintain this new status.

Now when I run, my body doesn't let me down but remains steady. Exercising relieves stress, rejuvenates me, and makes me feel healthy. It's a New Year's resolution I hope to uphold throughout my Air Force career and life.