USA: Naval Hospital Bremerton Promotes ‘Crews Into Shape’

Naval Hospital Bremerton Promotes 'Crews Into Shape'

Multiple teams from Naval Hospital Bremerton (NHB) are taking part in the monthlong 12th annual “Crews Into Shape” challenge, March 4-31.

“The goal for “Crews Into Shape” is overall health improvement by getting people to eat more fruits and vegetables and stay physically active throughout the week,” said Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Holly Dean, NHB Health Promotions.

Crews consist of 2-10 members registered online with a crew leader and crew name. No weigh-in is required and each member sets their own weight loss, maintenance, or gain goal. Points are accumulated for things such as eating fruits and vegetables, physical activities, and goal attainment.

“As a group, we’re trying to get higher Physical Readiness Test scores than last year,” said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Elizabeth Ramos, NHB Orthopedics leading petty officer and co-captain for the “Boneheads” team. “My personal goal is to run the PRT instead of doing my usual cardio event, the bike.”

The “Crews Into Shape” challenge runs concurrently with National Nutrition Month and is sponsored annually by the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center (NMCPHC). The challenge is open for all DoD employees.

To counter busy work schedules, some NHB crews have found creative and effective means of fulfilling their daily exercise and diet goals and raising awareness with health education.

“This week’s activity is a Juice Friday where we are sampling a spinach, kale, carrot, and apple juice that I made at home this morning. Juicing unlocks the nutrients in the veggies and fruits and is a great way to get the health benefits from the produce. Other plans for our team included Salad Friday and Smoothie Friday, as well as walking lunches,” said Peggy Hall, NHB clinical staff support and crew leader for the “Quality Matters” team from NHB Quality Management which she also led in last year’s challenge.

Taking the steps instead of the elevator for cardiovascular exercise is one method a number of teams are incorporating into their daily routine. One of the most frequent traveled routes in the main hospital is from the sub-level basement to the third floor. There are 98 steps in that route.

“Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays we walk the stairs from the sub-level to the flight above the Seventh floor. We do it at least two times a day and we try to increase it on Wednesdays to three,” said Ramos. “Also, one of our crew members is a command fitness leader (CFL) and some of our techs go whenever she leads a fitness enhancement program session [after hours].”

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus recently announced the 21st century Sailor and Marine initiatives with the intent to maximize personal readiness, build resiliency and produce a combat effective force. “Crews Into Shape” correlates to the physical fitness needed to make those initiative possible

“I think it gets overlooked, but physical fitness is one of the most important things. It’s important for taxpayers to see a Sailor and feel proud about their appearance in uniform,” said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Chad Pilkington, MNHB Optometry leading petty officer and CFL.

“I don’t think it’s good for them to see us in uniform and only think we’re well fed. I want them to see that we’re healthy and we take pride in our uniform and represent it well. [Crews Into Shape] is a tool and incentive to get Sailors into that healthy frame of mind.”

“People make poor choices everyday and one thing I would like to see them get out of this challenge is greater awareness to help them know where they are and where they should be to maintain their optimal level of health,” said Dean.

Dean notes that one dynamic “Crews Into Shape” introduces to some participants is an alternative for those who have tried to get healthier alone to now have a group effort to help them stay in shape and eat right.

The great thing about having other people with similar goals is that you have someone else holding you accountable other than just yourself. When it’s just you, it’s easier to slip up and not eat enough of the healthy foods throughout the day or skip a day of working out,” said Dean.

It’s vitally important even if you have an exercise plan. If you’ve got somebody expecting you to be there and keeping you on track, it’s going to work. We didn’t score the most points [last year], but we became more aware and had fun. It’s not necessarily just about eating right and physical fitness, but it’s also the camaraderie with your team members. The most challenging thing about this program is getting people to join especially the ones that would benefit the most,” said Hall.

“Thanks to a strong network of command health promoters, we have had an amazing turnout in the local area for the Navy Marine Corps Public Health Center’s “Crews Into Shape” challenge.
Navy Region Northwest has the strongest representation of any region navy wide,” said Janet Mano, NHB Health Promotion coordinator.

There are 13 teams at Naval Hospital, with an additional five teams at Naval Branch Health Clinic Everett, and another 85 throughout the greater region, including teams from Command Navy Region Northwest Safety, Naval Base Kitsap, Operational Health Support Unit Bremerton, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility, Naval Station Everett, Naval Undersea Warfare Center Keyport, and Naval Air Station Oak Harbor.

Naval Today Staff , March 21, 2012; Image: navy