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Arnold AFB Fitness Center offers variety of exercise options for Men’s Health Month and beyond

Participants of the May 21 interval training class at the Arnold Air Force Base Fitness Center complete strength training exercises. The class is among several classes and activities offered by the Fitness Center. (U.S. Air Force photo/Bradley Hicks)

Participants of the May 21 interval training class at the Arnold Air Force Base Fitness Center complete strength training exercises. The class is among several classes and activities offered by the Fitness Center. (U.S. Air Force photo/Bradley Hicks)

Participants of the May 21 interval training class at the Arnold Air Force Base Fitness Center utilize rowing machines as part of their workout. The class is among several classes and activities offered by the Fitness Center. (U.S. Air Force photo/Bradley Hicks)

Participants of the May 21 interval training class at the Arnold Air Force Base Fitness Center utilize rowing machines as part of their workout. The class is among several classes and activities offered by the Fitness Center. (U.S. Air Force photo/Bradley Hicks)

ARNOLD AIR FORCE BASE, Tenn. -- June is Men’s Health Month, a time when men across the country are encouraged to make healthy lifestyle choices.

A crucial component of healthy living is regular exercise, and the Arnold Air Force Base Fitness Center offers a variety of equipment and activities for men of all ages and fitness levels.

“Everybody from dependents to retirees, there’s something you can do here,” said Joe Watters, programs coordinator for the Arnold AFB Fitness Center. “There’s something appropriate for everyone.”

The Arnold AFB Fitness Center is open to all DOD employees and retirees, active duty service members from all military branches, military retirees, and civilian contractors across Arnold AFB. The facility is also open to dependents of the aforementioned except for civilian contractors.

Through the double doors near the back of the Fitness Center basketball court is the main workout area. This room includes cardio machines, such as treadmills and ellipticals, selectorized weight machines, and free weights.

Watters said the main workout room is the area most frequently utilized by Fitness Center visitors.

“Most people come in and do a 30- to 60-minute workout, cardio or weight training or a combination of both,” Watters said.

While most who use the Fitness Center have in mind the types of workouts they wish to perform, the center offers programs and assistance for those needing guidance on getting started with an exercise program or measuring their progress.

Watters said beginners looking to establish workout regimes may contact the Fitness Center. Center staff will meet with the individual, find out what he or she is looking to accomplish through an exercise routine, and set up a program to match their fitness goals. The staff will also conduct equipment orientations along with showing newcomers around the facility.

Appointments may also be made for fitness assessments. This will provide an individual with information such as bicep strength, body fat percentage and aerobic fitness.

The main workout room allows Fitness Center users to exercise unguided and at his or her own pace, but there are options for those looking for a more structured workout experience.

Instructor-led interval training classes are held each Monday, Wednesday and Friday beginning at 3:45 p.m. on the center basketball court. The circuit-style training combines cardio and strength exercises and incorporates equipment such as row machines, jump boxes and medicine balls. Watters said participants may modify exercises during the interval training classes to match their appropriate fitness levels. Participants work to complete the exercises alongside other members of the class.

“A lot of people find better motivation working out in groups,” Watters said.

Workouts are also available via the Wellbeats fitness kiosk located on the second level of the center. The Air Force has worked to install the kiosks at a number of installations in recent years. The machine at the Arnold AFB Fitness Center allows a user to choose an exercise class. A video workout matching the selected program is then projected onto a large screen, providing the user with an instructor-led experience on a more flexible schedule.

“It’s good for those who what a structured workout but can’t meet for the regular classes,” Watters said.

For those seeking something a little less intense, yoga classes are offered each Monday, Wednesday and Friday beginning at 11 a.m. on the second level of the Fitness Center. The sessions on Mondays and Wednesday are instructor-led, while the Friday classes are headed by participant volunteers.

Fitness center users also have access to the adjacent racquetball facility and may, at no cost, borrow mountain bikes to ride around the grounds. Watters said the Fitness Center also has a BeaverFit Performance Locker, a portable conex-style box that contains equipment such as weights and pullup bars. This will allow the Fitness Center to offer interval training in an outdoor setting.

The Fitness Center is set in the future to acquire an Alpha Warrior station. The approximately 12 foot-by-12 foot station will offer a mini-obstacle course resembling the television show “American Ninja Warrior” with obstacles such as rings and rope climbs.

“There’s options for everybody,” Watters said.

According to the Men’s Health Month website, the purpose of Men’s Health Month, which is celebrated every June, is to heighten awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys. Men’s Health Month gives health care providers, public policy makers, the media and individuals an opportunity to encourage men and boys to seek regular medical advice and early treatment for disease and injury.

The Arnold AFB Fitness Center, located between the Main Gate and Gate 2 along Wattendorf Memorial Highway, is open Mondays through Fridays from 5 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more information about the Arnold AFB Fitness Center, call 931-454-6440.