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Pentagon urges employees to 'leap' into fitness

DOD military and civilian members are encouraged to participate in the presidential fitness challenge this fall.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Corey Hook)

DOD military and civilian members are encouraged to participate in the presidential fitness challenge this fall. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Corey Hook)

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Uniformed and civilian Air Force members are encouraged to represent the Defense Department in the presidential fitness challenge this fall as our country continues to focus on health and wellness.

The DOD's civilian personnel policy office is sponsoring 'Leap Into Fall,' a fitness challenge for all uniformed and civilian military members that runs through Oct. 31.

Pentagon officials say participating in the challenge is not only good for employees and the DOD, but also for the nation.

"We consider this part of readiness," said Kathleen Ott, the acting deputy undersecretary of Defense for the civilian personnel policy office. "We want our employees to be fit and be productive. If we pay attention to our employees and their needs, it makes us a better employer, better able to recruit and retain employees, and retain our reputation as a model employer."

The office started the 'Leap Into Fall' challenge as a call to action to get people moving.

Physical activity doesn't have to be strenuous, and could include walking, biking, gardening, golfing, home repair, virtual sports, even juggling -- "anything that gets you up and moving," Ms. Ott said.

The campaign goal is for DOD members to record 1.5 million hours of physical activity during the challenge.

One way for Air Force Materiel Command employees to contribute to that goal is through the command's fitness and wellness activities.

All AFMC employees are encouraged to use the Online Wellness Support Center at www.afmcwellness.com, which serves as the wellness portal for all AFMC civilian and active duty personnel. The site contains a variety of personal health logs, a number of health resources by topic and an incentive program.

Civilian Health Promotion Services is available at eight AFMC bases to help AFMC civilians reach their health and wellness goals.

Participants may compete in the 'Leap Into Fall' challenge as individuals or as part of a group.

Participants can register for the challenge, log activity hours and track their progress at the DOD wellness website, www.cpms.osd.mil/wellness/wellness_fitchallenge.aspx.

To be included in the DOD participation rates, participants should use the password "wellness" when registering and submit their usernames to wellness@cpms.osd.mil.

Individuals with 25 hours logged, or groups in which members log an average of 25 hours, will receive a certificate of achievement. The top three individuals and top three groups will be recognized on the DOD wellness website.

Organized PT time for Airmen can be counted toward the challenge. Air Force civilians may also count their physical training time toward the challenge.

Air Force Instruction 36-815, Absence and Leave, allows supervisors to excuse civilian employees from their normal duties in order to participate in physical fitness activities for up to three hours per week, based on mission and workload requirements.

(Courtesy of American Forces Press Service)