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What Comprehensive Airman Fitness means to me

(Courtesy photo by Randall Moose)

(Courtesy photo by Randall Moose)

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Comprehensive Airman Fitness is an Air Force-wide initiative based on improving Airman readiness by solidifying the four pillars of CAF: Mental, Physical, Social and Spiritual.

When I first heard of the four pillars, I had to ask myself an important question. What does that mean?

First, I needed understand the fundamentals of the four pillars.

Mental: Approaching life's challenges in a positive way, demonstrating self-control, stamina and good character with choices or actions, also seeking and offering help.

Physical: Performing in physical activities that require aerobic fitness, endurance, strength, flexibility and body composition derived through exercise, nutrition and training.

Social: Developing or maintaining trusted, valued friendships that are personally fulfilling and foster good communication, including exchange of ideas, views and experiences.

Spiritual: Strengthening a set of beliefs, principles or values that sustain my sense of well-being and purpose.

Then I had to breakdown each pillar and build my own personalized pillars, using these as the foundation.

Mental: I approach life with overall positivity and self-confidence. Many years have I reflected on my emotions and how to control them. Not simply to keep my emotions from overcoming me, but to use them to my advantage. Anger, for example, can be used to fuel determination to complete a task or even to push myself through a work out.

Physical: The Air Force determines my fitness goals, but beyond maxing out the physical training test, I enjoy running, biking and hiking. I don’t really pay attention to my diet, but I may go for a run after eating an excessively large meal.

Social: I try to maintain good relationships with my co-workers and associates. As an introvert though, I don’t maintain a large number of close friends. I naturally tend to keep only a few good friends at a time. This makes maintaining and enjoying each other much easier. I also have to combat my introverted nature by regularly visiting game stores or libraries, “forcing” myself to interact with people.

Spiritual: As an atheist, this was the hardest for me to understand and personalize. I’ve always struggled to find my purpose in life, but it was lyrics from a song that I chose to define me. “Life is for my own, to live my own way.” Basically, I do not need any kind of ultimate goal to enjoy life now and on my terms.

I hope this article not only introduces the four pillars in a new light, but that you can determine what it means to you as well.