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by airhead (1) Guide created: Apr. 13, 2009 12:53:42
Guide ID: 17
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I thought I would start with a guide about nothing really. Its worthwhile writing it because i want to know what its all about and how it displays. I think the site is great and im very happy to continue. On a runway more used to the traffic of transport aircraft or the roar of fast jets, the sights and sounds were a little different one April morning, as 300 pairs of trainers hit the tarmac running at Royal Air Force (RAF) Akrotiri. The airfield is open 24 hours a day, fulfilling a vital role as a staging post in support of military operations and exercises. Personnel stationed at the base on the South Coast of Cyprus have the same requirement to pass the new, bi annual RAF fitness test, but with the added challenge of working out in a hot Mediterranean climate. With the new testing year starting on 1st April, the station was the first to hold an en masse outdoor test, with all available on duty personnel signed up to take part. “The gym can be quite stuffy” said Senior Aircraftsman (Technician) Mark Croft, “we all agreed how great it was to have a cool breeze as you start to build up a sweat!” Flight Lieutenant Craig Gill, Officer Commanding Physical Education Flight explained their unusual approach to the testing. “In the past we have run fitness tests twice a week, every week of the year, but this takes up valuable time that could be better spent leading adventurous training or providing remedial support. The solution was to run one mass test and a plan was formed to conduct the test on the runway”. With so many aircraft around they soon adopted the option of using a quieter dispersal area, and all ranks from Air Commodore to Senior Aircraftsman pushed out the press up and sit up test elements. Then came the multi-stage fitness test, known as the “bleep test”. Runners are required to sprint between two lines, 20 metres apart, in time to a series of increasingly rapid bleeps. Split into age groups, some of the men became very competitive. Corporal Steve Norton, at 24, had to reach level 9.10 to pass the test, further than his colleague 39 year old Sergeant Paul Fraser, but they raced each other past level 14, both achieving an excellent overall score. But it's not just about the test. Station Commander Group Captain John Bessell was keen to promote the message that fitness is for life, as well as for the job, and all participants rounded off the session with a healthy breakfast of porridge, cereal and fruit. To help get everyone in shape, Physical Education staff at Akrotiri have made regular, directed exercise sessions available to all, every morning and most evenings. “Improved levels of fitness lead to better general health” Craig Gill advised. “Every individual in the Service has a responsibility, not just to themselves, but also to their colleagues, to ensure they are working at peak performance both at home and on operations”. Increased RAF Fitness Currency. From 1st June 09, anyone achieving a blue level in all three test aspects of their fitness test will have their fitness testing currency increased from 6 to 12 months. This change is being adopted to encourage personnel to aspire for higher standards of fitness, to develop a level of conditioning that will better prepare them for the demands of Service life whether at home or abroad. Whilst testing is an important measure of the fitness status of the RAF population, the primary focus for all those involved in Health and Fitness promotion is on raising activity levels. The recommended level of activity for service personnel is a minimum of 3 x 50 minute periods of moderately vigorous physical activity per week. Service personnel who wish to experience the benefits that regular physical activity can bring, should contact their professional Physical Education staff on Station who will be only too happy to provide assistance.
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