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Fitness, an Airman’s duty

Senior Airman Shane Phipps, 30th Space Wing Public Affairs photojournalist, performs a weight lift, March 4, 2015, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Since March is National Nutrition Month, members of the armed forces are provided an opportunity to assess their current fitness levels. (U.S. Air Force photo by Michael Peterson/Released)

Senior Airman Shane Phipps, 30th Space Wing Public Affairs photojournalist, performs a weight lift, March 4, 2015, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Since March is National Nutrition Month, members of the armed forces are provided an opportunity to assess their current fitness levels. (U.S. Air Force photo by Michael Peterson/Released)

Senior Airman Shane Phipps, 30th Space Wing Public Affairs photojournalist, performs a weight lift, March 4, 2015, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Since March is National Nutrition Month, members of the armed forces are provided an opportunity to assess their current fitness levels. (U.S. Air Force photo by Michael Peterson/Released)

Senior Airman Shane Phipps, 30th Space Wing Public Affairs photojournalist, performs a weight lift, March 4, 2015, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Since March is National Nutrition Month, members of the armed forces are provided an opportunity to assess their current fitness levels. (U.S. Air Force photo by Michael Peterson/Released)

Senior Airman Shane Phipps, 30th Space Wing Public Affairs photojournalist, runs on a treadmill, March 4, 2015, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Since March is National Nutrition Month, members of the armed forces are provided an opportunity to assess their current fitness levels. (U.S. Air Force photo by Michael Peterson/Released)

Senior Airman Shane Phipps, 30th Space Wing Public Affairs photojournalist, runs on a treadmill, March 4, 2015, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Since March is National Nutrition Month, members of the armed forces are provided an opportunity to assess their current fitness levels. (U.S. Air Force photo by Michael Peterson/Released)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- With the month of March being deemed National Nutrition Month, we as members of the armed forces are provided with yet another valuable opportunity to reflect on any poor fitness habits we may have.

Although the month focuses on eating healthy, it serves as reminder that good nutrition should be the cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle and fitness program.

According to an article from www.med.navy.mil, "Whether you're a recreational athlete or a marathon runner, what you eat and when you eat it can affect your performance and the way you feel while you're exercising."

This is particularly important for military members to keep in mind because regardless of whether your job is to engage hostile ground forces, provide Close Air Support, or work in Air Force Public Affairs, like I do - we all share an equal responsibility to remain fit-to-fight.

This responsibility, unfortunately, seems too often forgotten, especially in climate controlled, office-oriented career fields like mine.

I understand I'm merely an E-4, but I do know working eight hours a day in an office environment is no excuse to abdicate our duty toward fitness. If anything, it provides us with a better opportunity to develop a well-balanced exercise program. We should always be leading our peers, not lagging behind.

In my opinion, fitness is as much a part of our obligatory duty to the country as our primary occupation is. Yet for many, fitness can sometimes be an afterthought. Something where meeting bare minimum standards, bi-annually, seems acceptable.

Regardless of what our jobs are, we all joined the same military, and wear the same uniform many selfless and heroic men and women have died for, and we have a responsibility to at least try to live up to their image -- in all facets.

Additionally, the public's trust and support is essential in our line of work. We must ensure we are up to the challenge of upholding the sacred responsibility of defending every man, woman and child who calls this country home.

Due to bearing this lofty responsibility, many Americans think of U.S. military members as the embodiments of strength and courage. Imposing Captain America-like figures that seem to be chiseled from stone rather than born of flesh.

To the average citizen who sees you in the street you represent the entire armed-forces and therefore have a responsibility to maintain the image that many have paid the ultimate price to create.

It's essential for us all to frequently set our egos aside and ask ourselves if we're truly comfortable with the image we project while in uniform.

So, during National Nutrition Month, assess your eating habits, checkout the fitness center and start an exercise routine that will make those who came before us proud.

To those who disagree, my only question is - why are you in the military?