Summer is almost here. And that fact got me thinking about health and wellness.

Let me be honest — first, it got me thinking about bathing suit season, and then just being healthy; both physically and mentally.

As I flipped through the magazines at the grocery store checkout line and scanned the myriad of posts in my Facebook feed about getting your body ready for swimsuit season aka summer, I had to remind myself it is about more than just the number on the scale. And yes — I want to look good in my bathing suit. But when I feel good from the inside, it projects outwardly.

So, getting healthy — physically and mentally — is about being good to your body.

When I talk about getting healthy, I mean more than just hitting the gym. It’s about what we put into our bodies, too. It’s about creating a balance by eating smart, moving more, and being well.

Earlier this month, I visited an Army wellness center at Fort Leavenworth. There are Army wellness centers all over the country (and the world), and there is one right here at Fort Hood.

Ever wondered what the Army wellness center, or AWC, is? Have you heard people talk about it but weren’t sure about what they offered? Or maybe visited in the past and are thinking about going in for another visit. The AWC promotes a sustained healthy lifestyle for soldiers, dependents, retirees, and Army civilians. It is an amazing resource with a trained staff that has a wealth of knowledge.

I was reluctant to go but mustered up some courage and made my way in to the AWC. At my appointment, there was biometrics — height, weight, blood pressure, etc. And then, there was metabolic testing and the BOD POD.

The metabolic testing consisted of a 15-minute rest with what they called “a canopy” over you. It was very mask-like and I loved it. Who doesn’t love to sit back and relax? For some reason, any to-do lists that normally rush through my mind just stopped. I purposefully found stillness and just started breathing. I guess this is where I was channeling my yoga practice off the mat. It was fifteen minutes of peace.

The BOD POD was intimidating and was not something I was looking forward to but it provided valuable information on my health and wellness. I donned my spandex shorts, sports bra, and swim cap, and climbed into the egg-shaped pod. The BOD POD measures body composition and lasts a total of about two to three minutes.

I thought it was going to be way worse than it was. It was quick and painless.

When you get the results, the data will include your resting metabolic rate, body mass index, and body fat rating. All critical information to help develop and design a program to get you healthy. The team at the AWC will help you get started on a tailored health and wellness plan.

Getting healthy often involves a lifestyle change. It may include adding physical fitness to your daily routine., or it could mean adding cardio or strength training to your workouts. It’s about adapting your diet. All these lifestyle changes will help you to: increase your energy, lose weight, improve your mental health, get that good REM sleep, and achieve an overall well-being.

The first step is getting educated so you can start down the path of health and wellness.

I encourage you to contact the Army Wellness Center at Fort Hood by calling 254-533-6196 to make an appointment.

Let’s take stock in our health, take care of ourselves, and show our children what healthy and strong look like.

Reena O’Brien is a military spouse and a Herald correspondent. She lives on Fort Hood.

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