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Navy Experts Weigh In on Staying Fit

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MILLINGTON, Tenn. -- Getting fit rates high among resolutions people make at the start of the New Year, and Navy's Physical Readiness Program has resources and information to help Sailors and families achieve their fitness goals, officials said Jan. 8.

"Whether you exercise and want to increase your current level of fitness or you are looking to start a routine to attain a healthy level of fitness we can help," said Bill Moore, director, Navy Physical Readiness Program. "Focusing on the wellness of Sailors and their families by providing the skills and tools for fitness and nutrition is one of our primary objectives."

While it is common for Sailors to skip or reduce workouts over the holidays according to Moore, Sailors should be able to resume their normal fitness routine if little time elapsed between workouts over the holidays.

"Most commands wrap up their fall physical fitness assessments before Thanksgiving and there are gatherings and shopping that may eat into fitness time over the holidays, so it is natural for people to exercise less," said Moore. "Missing four to five days of exercise over the holidays should have little impact on fitness routines."

Sailors who missed more than six days between workouts may experience some muscle soreness when resuming their routine.

For those who haven't worked out since the last semiannual physical readiness test Moore recommends starting off slowly and building up slowly.

"Start with a shorter duration for cardio-respiratory exercise and less weight for strength training. Build up from there," said Moore. "Sailors can start with 20 minutes of some sort of exercise two or three days per week, slowly increasing time by five minutes per week until they reach their desired level of activity."

"If you have truly been inactive and want to start a routine, then you should consult your physician before performing exercise," he added.

Once you establish fitness routine Moore recommends making it part of a weekly schedule.

"Consistency is the key," he said, adding that whether serving on shore duty, on board ship or submarine, or in the dirt and sand, the Navy provides its Sailors resources and equipment to remain fit to fight.

Navy guidance recommends Sailors complete at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week and perform strength-training exercises at least twice a week to work all major muscle groups.

Examples of moderate-intensity cardio-respiratory activities include brisk walking (3 mph or faster), bicycling (slower than 10 mph) and water aerobics. High-intensity activities include jogging or running, lap swimming, jumping rope and circuit training. Strength training includes pushups, lifting weights, and working with resistance bands. Including two sessions per week of 8-10 exercises that work all the different parts of the body (legs, hips, back, chest, abs, shoulders and arms) repeated for 10-12 reps each can improve fitness, decrease muscle loss and help maintain a healthy weight.

The Navy Physical Readiness Program website at http://www.public.navy.mil/bupers-npc/support/physical/Pages/default2.aspx has links to sample warm-ups and workouts users may choose. One sample workout specifically addresses techniques to improve performance on the Navy's physical readiness test.

Sailors and families will also find links to nutrition information that when followed compliment a good fitness routine.

"No matter what your fitness goals are, good nutrition can help improve your exercise performance, decrease your recovery time from strenuous exercise, prevent injuries due to fatigue, and provide the fuel required during times of high-intensity training and weight control," said Lt. Cmdr Jennifer Wallinger, registered dietitian, Navy Physical Readiness Program.

The site also contains a Navy registered dietitian locator so Sailors and family members may meet face-to-face with an expert and learn more about incorporating proper nutrition to maximize the benefits of their fitness routine.

Whether it is maintaining or seeking to attain a healthy level of fitness the Navy provides Sailors and family members the tools to reach their goals, according to Moore.

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