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Virtual PT keeps the competition alive

Physical Training leaders from the Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence and Networks Directorate prepare to lead a virtual workout session from their homes outside Hanscom Air Force Base Mass., this month. The weekly challenges are meant to keep members physically fit while socially connected during physical distance restrictions. (courtesy photo)

Physical Training leaders from the Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence and Networks Directorate prepare to lead a virtual workout session from their homes outside Hanscom Air Force Base Mass., this month. The weekly challenges are meant to keep members physically fit while socially connected during physical distance restrictions. (courtesy photo)

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – An organization from the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center here has been supporting physical resilience and social connectedness through virtual physical training sessions.

The Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence and Networks Directorate adapted their monthly intramural sports tournament to weekly training sessions and competitions held via video conference calls.

“The workout challenges keep a healthy rivalry going between the divisions, and it’s a great way to keep everyone active,” said 1st Lt. Tyler Murray, a Kill Chain Integration Branch systems engineer.

Murray leads the home workout challenges with his fellow physical training leader, 2nd Lt. Riley Thomas. The competition tracks which division can rack up the most pushups, sit ups, squats and miles run. Each video conference hosts about 40 participants in a session.

“Our unit is pretty fit, but it’s still a great way to get everyone together and see each other ‘face to face,’” said Thomas, an Electronic Warfare Systems Branch engineer.

Senior leaders highlighted the directorate’s efforts during a recent Community Action Board meeting and said the sessions have only strengthened the pillars of wellness throughout the divisions.

“Our new environment presents unique challenges and it is vital that we focus on the Comprehensive Airmen Fitness framework and its physical, spiritual, mental, and social domains,” said Col. Kenneth Ferland, Cyber & IT Infrastructure Operations Branch chief. “This fitness challenge provided a great opportunity for us to focus on our physical well-being and ensure we remain resilient.”

The pair are looking to add high intensity workouts and yoga classes to their rotation, but encourage their unit to stay active in their free time.

“Staying active is keeping me sane through physical distancing,” said Murray. “Even if it’s just in your living room, it puts your mind in a better place to sweat it out.”

Participants said the challenges not only keep them motivated, but connected while it matters most.

“The challenges are easy to participate in and are all workouts you can do without specialty equipment, so it helps motivate people to exercise more than they might have before,” said 2nd Lt. Michael Smith, a Cyber Infrastructure Division cost analyst. “I’m looking forward to the next challenge, and pushing for max participation to keep us fit and connected through these difficult times.”