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HAWC keeps Team Travis fit for life

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- As the Air Force strives to stay "fit to fight," fitness continues to become a more important component of Airmen readiness. 

With this focus, the Travis Health and Wellness Center has many resources to help Team Travis track their progress and fitness level. The Bod Pod, Meta Check and Gait analysis are just three of the many resources they offer. 

"The Bod Pod is a chamber that works on atmospheric pressure and displacement which determines the composition of the body," said Lisa Webster, Travis Health and Wellness Center dietitian. "It is 98.6 to 98.9 percent accurate and can be used by most Travis personnel including active duty, Reservists, retirees and general service employees." 

According to Dr. Mary Nelson, HAWC director, the National Football League uses the Bod Pod to officially access the lean body mass of NFL players to ensure all participants are healthy enough for demanding physical activity. The same technology used in the NFL is helping Team Travis prepare to face the physical challenges that come with deployments and day-to-day duties. 

During a Bod Pod appointment, members must wear form-fitting clothes and cannot eat or exercise two hours prior to the appointment. Two simple tests are given, each less than one minute in the chamber. The subject just sits motionless while the machine does the work. 

Ms. Webster recommends that active duty men maintain their body composition at 10 percent body fat and active duty women should be approximately 20 percent body fat. 

"I am trying to get back into shape and do well on my fitness test because I just had a baby," said Staff Sgt. Dina Clements 60th Dental Squadron dental hygienist and recent Bod Pod user. "It gave me a good idea of where I'm at and where I need to go." 

Additionally, if the body is in weight loss mode, Ms. Webster suggests that body composition be measured once per month or quarterly if maintaining current weight. 

"This knowledge is beneficial for Air Force personnel because it truly gives the best idea of what their body mass is and gives them a better understanding of it," said Ms. Webster. 

Knowing body composition is not the only information needed to get the complete picture of overall fitness. 

The Meta Check is a breathing assessment which measures the resting energy expenditure and metabolic rate telling the subject how many calories are burned at rest. With this information, the range of calories that should be consumed for body-weight maintenance can be calculated. 

With similarities to the Bod Pod, during a Meta Check appointment, members cannot eat, exercise or consume caffeine four hours prior to the testing. During the test, subjects breathe into a tube for ten minutes with the nose sealed by a clip. 

"This will show how many calories they are truly burning at rest and will tell how the metabolism is functioning," said Ms. Webster. "The Bod Pod and Meta Check should be used together to get a well-rounded picture of themselves." 

Additionally, the HAWC offers other services to prevent injury. 

The Gait analysis, a type of motion analysis, identifies how a subject's body mechanics work. The analysis can determine posture-related or movement-related problems that may cause pain or injury. During the session, running is analyzed on a treadmill with and without shoes. The results are then sent to the Pentagon shoe clinic where shoe recommendations are made based on how the member runs. 

"A lot of customers are really grateful for the shoe recommendation," said Julie Stout, HAWC fitness program manager. "They come in with knee, shin, hip and/or back pain and just by changing their shoes, it really does make a difference." 

Appointments for the Bod Pod and Meta Check fill up quickly and are offered at the HAWC on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. 

To take advantage of and for more information on all of the great services the HAWC has to offer, call 424-4292.

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