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Pentagon urges employees to leap into fitness

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON — 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.

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

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.

The challenge also supports First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign for children.

Participants may compete as individuals or as part of a group.

Physical activity doesn’t have to be strenuous, and could include walking, biking, gardening, golfing, home repair, virtual sports, even juggling, or “anything that gets you up and moving,” Ott said.

Participants can log onto the DoD wellness website, www.cpms.osd.mil/wellnes/wellness_fitchallenge.aspx, and follow the quick links to build a profile and to log their physical activity.

Individuals who want to be included in the DoD participation rates should use the password “wellness” when registering, and submit their usernames to [email protected].

Participants interested in joining a group for the DoD Fitness Challenge should identify a group leader to complete the group registration on the website. A group ID number will be generated for group leaders to provide to members. Each member should fill in their group ID number in their profile to join the group.

Group leaders should then submit the group information to [email protected].

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.

Air Force civilians may 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.

Employees should check with their local civilian personnel section to learn if the on-duty physical fitness program is in effect for their organization.

Organized PT time for airmen can also be counted toward the challenge.

More than 8,000 employees have logged onto the site so far.