Air Force PT in the community

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Brittany Liddon
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing public affairs
"Initially, the intent was to visit the children to teach them about physical fitness and to get them excited about exercise," said Tech. Sgt. Matthew Orlando, 6th Communication Squadron.

Orlando used his experience as an U.S. Air Force Basic Military Training instructor to assist in teaching physical education techniques to students from Saint Anthony Catholic School in Tampa, Fla.

"I made sure to change the style of the exercises from those actually performed in BMT to those that were more child-friendly and fun to do," Orlando said.

The workouts, which were taught to fifth through eighth grade students, were modified versions of the actual physical training program that is used at BMT. Some of the exercises that were taught to the children were standard and pyramid push-ups, sit-ups, flutter kicks, squats, and cross-knee crunches.

"The most challenging part of this experience was adapting my teaching style from adults to children and my worry that the kids might not have fun with this kind of interaction," Orlando explained. "But the children seemed to be really excited about having a member of the Air Force teaching them some of the same exercises done in BMT by trainees and future Airmen."

The plan for continuing this program is to gather volunteers from Team MacDill to visit schools to lead physical education. The volunteers hope to help encourage children to exercise and go home and inspire their families to become more physically active.

"Incorporating physical fitness into their daily lives will give children a vital tool to ward off childhood obesity, juvenile diabetes, and even various cardiovascular diseases," explained Orlando. "I would like to think that by inspiring these children to strive to exercise more and teaching them that exercise can be fun and rewarding, the message will follow the children home and hopefully inspire families to exercise together and live happier, healthier, more fulfilling lives."

Saint Anthony Catholic School is the first school to have this program brought to their students.

"After my experience with the children, I think it would be a great idea to start a program where we could visit schools and teach physical fitness and how the Air Force contributes not only to defending this country but to our community as well," said Orlando.