90 at 90: Emphasize the Exercise Published March 26, 2012 By Airman 1st Class Mariah Haddenham 36th Wing Public Affairs ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- Physical fitness is more important than ever as the Air Force moves forward in restructuring. This requires our Airmen to be better, faster and stronger. Military members should look not only to keep up with the pace, but to exceed it, striving for excellence. Possibly the most strenuous part of the assessment is the 1.5 mile run. This area of the physical fitness assessment can be vastly improved upon, according to Byron Hardy, 36th Medical Operations Squadron Sports Physiologist at the Health and Wellness Center here. "There are some technique problems out there that can be fixed right away," said Mr. Hardy. "The most common errors are stride length and foot strike." "A lot of people still think they need to take longer strides to run faster but it's the opposite," continued Mr. Hardy. Turnover, which is the rate at which feet are moving over a surface, is what can affect a run time. "The foot impact needs to be mid-foot, directly under your center of gravity," said Mr. Hardy. "When you're taking a long stride and landing on your heel, it's like running on a flat tire," reasoned Mr. Hardy. Improper running form can also lead to sport related injuries resulting in medical profiles. "Some of the more common profiles that I'm seeing are running related," said Mr. Hardy. "Shin splints, plantar fasciitis, achilles tendonitis, patellar tendonitis and lower back pain are injuries usually due to impact." "Turning it on and turning it off is the way to go," said Mr. Hardy, as he talked about a variety in training. "Rest and recovery is huge, but variety is even bigger. You're body gets accustomed to stressors and ceases to adapt." Some additional exercises that can help your running form include skipping rope and barefoot sprints. Both of these exercises provide a good cardiovascular workout, while lowering the repetitive impact that can occur with running. Your heart rate while exercising and training is also an often overlooked area when pushing to improve your performance and training. According to Air Force physical fitness standards, the recommended maximum heart rate for ages 20 to 35 is between 185 to 200 beats per minute, with ages 35 to 60 having a recommended heart rate between 160 and 180 beats per minute. In closing, a variety in exercise regimens, along with proper running form can help improve your run times. Airmen looking to make improvements here can do so by following easy steps to top physical fitness and peak warfighting capability.