HAWC services help Airmen

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class John Linzmeier
  • 22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
This year the McConnell Health and Wellness Center enters its 17th year of improving the health and physical well being of Airmen and their families.

One of the centers primary objectives is to assist Airmen in improving their scores for the physical fitness test, especially for those who are recovering from ailments.

Staff Sgt. Marcus Tucker, 22nd Logistics Readiness Squadron contract specialist officer, is continually seeking guidance from the HAWC's physicians to better prepare for his upcoming physical fitness test; his first in four years.

Tucker had surgery on both knees four years ago, resulting from years of competitive soccer, exempting him from the PFT run.

He took the HAWC's gait analysis to develop a personalized running plan and reveal which types of shoes are best suited for him.

"A lot of people call us 'the running shoe clinic' because of the gait analysis we are known for," said Lou Stadler, 22nd Aerospace Medicine Squadron HAWC director. "It's a preventative assessment. We work with digital video technology to look at somebody's running gait to determine if they have abnormalities that could cause injury."

Based on analysis results, a physician will provide the patient with guidance on improve running movements.

"[The HAWC] has helped me a lot so far," said Tucker, "hopefully I came here soon enough to actually make significant progress for my test in October."

The resources at the HAWC are not limited to injury recovery, but also available to help achieve other fitness goals.

"Sometimes people come in for a gait analysis and through the analysis we discover they need a functional movement screening or a corrective exercise evaluation," said Stadler. "One thing may lead to another."

Many HAWC goers use the clinic "Bod Pod," an egg-shaped chamber that measures body fat and lean muscle mass.

"The results can be very disappointing the first time you use it," said Senior Airman Eric Hayes, 22nd Operations Group intelligence analyst, "but it really makes you want to get off your butt and start working out."

Having an accurate body fat measurement can help people to see how effective workouts and diets really are.

"Even for people who are just trying to gain muscle mass," said Hayes, "it still is a good idea for them to try it out to see what their made of and track their improvements."

The analysis allows physicians at the HAWC to review the patient's progress and help them create a more effective workout regimen.

"It's a pretty awesome feeling when people come back in and see that they dropped their body fat a significant amount," said Stadler.

Another service the HAWC offers is a month-long tobacco cessation class.

"The class helped me deal with my cigarette cravings," said Airman 1st Class Nicolas Conley, 22nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron hydraulics specialist, "particularly when it comes to social situations. It really helps to know that everyone in there is going in for the same cause."

A "quit line" is an option for people who are unable to attend each class, directing them to a reduction counselor to discuss progress and review content from the missed class.

Conley is halfway through the course and has made more progress in this effort to quit smoking than previous attempts.

"The [teacher] will stay after and help you if you have any problems," Said Conley. "She has done a wonderful job."

Courses on topics such as physical training leadership, cholesterol, diabetes, hypertension and other health promoting classes are available for enrollment to service members and dependents.

"If you want to start a new workout plan, eat healthier or quit smoking they have everything here to help you," said Tucker. "It just depends on what your goals are and what you want to do. The team here is very professional, knowledgeable and definitely knows what they're doing."

For more information on the HAWC, call (316) 759-6024.