Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany --
When people think about their road to fitness, they may think about a five-mile run, weighted pull-ups or 500-pound squats. However, strong values or character can also be a form of fitness. The Air Force promotes all areas of fitness that are a part of the Comprehensive Airman Fitness program which include mental, physical, social and spiritual principles that help create a healthy fitness balance.
"Spiritual fitness can be religious activities or it can be not religious activities," said U.S. Air Force Maj. James Janecek, 52nd Fighter Wing chaplain. "Some people utilize religious practices, principles and beliefs instead of institutional values; others prefer a non-religious but still spiritual type of activity."
According to Janecek, believing in the Air Force core values is an example of spiritual fitness. Doing what is right, even when no one is looking, striving for excellence and committing selfless acts of service, may come easy for some Airmen. These values are taught to Airmen on day one of entering the Air Force.
To fulfill further spiritual needs the Chapel service offers religious support whether it's Christian, Buddhist, Islamic, Jewish, Wiccan and more.
For others, finding spiritual fitness might not be a religious practice. Janecek mentioned that maintaining spiritual fitness might even mean finding a peaceful place in the world to admire nature's beauty.
"I utilize religious activities, but I also have spiritual fitness in my life that's not explicitly religious," he said. "I like to go snow skiing, and I like to go up to the very top of the peaks. For me, getting up to the top where there are clouds, or maybe even above the clouds, and you see the mountain ranges and the beauty there is very spiritually energizing to me."
He also mentioned that being spiritually fit is important for Air Force readiness. The dangers that service members may face while being deployed can present a fear or doubt. This type of fitness gives Airmen the tools necessary to overcome fears or obstacles associated with life-or-death situations.
In addition to the Chaplain Corps, the Airman & Family Readiness Center and the Family Advocacy Program are just some of the additional resources service members can use to reach their spiritual fitness goals.
"I think we are really lucky at Spangdahlem that we do have a variety of resources," said Lee McDonough, 52nd Fighter Wing community support coordinator from Silver Spring, Md. "The chapel is a great resource where people can start, but there are other resources as well. We have military life consultants that have training in providing information about spiritual resources."
McDonough also encouraged that Airmen use a mentor within their unit who they can confide in to reach their fitness goals.
For more information about how to exercise your spiritual fitness, contact your local chaplain or visit the following websites,