With National Women’s Health Care Month leading into the summer months ahead, female soldiers are encouraged to stay physically and mentally fit, eat healthy and avoid unhealthy behaviors.
For female troopers of 1st “Ironhorse” Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, physical fitness and mental health is paramount to being an asset on the team, according to a pair of Ironhorse soldiers who offered insight for women looking to stay healthy.
Sgt. Kemelia Campbell, a master fitness trainer with 1st “Dragon” Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, said soldiers who may be struggling with their fitness should focus on taking small steps.
“If you go out on your own and take it one mile at a time,” Campbell said, “I’m telling you it can change you mentally.”
She said combining fitness with lifestyle is a key part of being healthy. She suggested females change certain pastimes to promote fitness by going to a park with friends instead of heading to a club, or parking as far away from the door as possible before going shopping.
Campbell said women in the military who work out excessively, but still have weight issues, can monitor their diet and change their eating habits to make a difference.
Capt. Sarah Ferreira, a military intelligence officer and a physical training coordinator for the brigade, said she thinks physical fitness is a top priority for women.
Ferreira said staying in top condition requires eating healthy, getting at least seven hours of sleep, staying away from tobacco products and limiting alcohol intake.
“Those are the areas specifically that women need to focus on and hone,” Ferreira said. “How we’re treating our bodies and what we’re putting into them.”
She said eating healthy is an integral part of maintaining overall fitness. “If you don’t want to go to lunch here on post, pack your lunch,” Ferreira said.
When it comes to staying fit, Ferreira said soldiers are not without options on post.
“There’s tons of programs outside of the 6:30 to 7:30 a.m. Army (physical training) that they can do,” Ferreira said, referring to the various intramural sports or classes offered at the resiliency center or any of the seven gyms at Fort Hood, such as aquatics, Zumba and CrossFit.
Ferreira said she believes staying in control of physical health doesn’t have to be a solo mission.
“I find out sometimes I tend to work out harder, more efficiently and stay focused if I have a team or a buddy there with me,” she said.
In addition to pushing the Ironhorse staff when it comes to physical training, Ferreira said she also mixes up the workout routines so soldiers don’t get bored. Using landscape bricks, litters, ruck sacks and other items in place of free weights, Ferreira is able to add variety to the fitness schedule.
“I probably focus more on (fitness) than the average person, but I like to do that stuff,” Ferreira said. “It’s what I enjoy.”