Social fitness: the motor that drives us forward

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Lee Pedersen
  • 730th Aircraft Mobility Squadron
The Comprehensive Airman Fitness Model is comprised of four pillars, each equally important. Like the other three, the social pillar helps us combat stress, but in a different way.

The broad definition of the social pillar is your ability to network with other people and how close you are to your family and friends. The tighter the circle of friends you have the further they will go to help you. The social pillar is one that we create without putting any thought into it. It is also one that we may forget when times are tough.

One thing that separates the social pillar from the others is that it uses external strengths to propel you forward. Social fitness gives you the combined strength of your family and friends to help you through any situation you may face. This means that no matter what happens in your life you are not alone.

Air Force leadership recognizes the power of social fitness and has created organizations to help members develop and strengthen their social bonds. The Airman and Family Readiness Center, for example, strives to ensure that you and your family are taken care of by hosting family classes and events.

Let's perform a quick exercise. If you have a smart phone or maybe some photos in your wallet, take a look at them. When you see family and friends in those photos, how do you feel? I bet you feel better and probably have a smile on your face. Humans are a social species and we need the help of family and friends to work our way through life and the stresses in it.

Let's take it a step further. Can you name a popular band that encompasses only one person? Think about it, even one-man bands have writers or producers that help them create a product. Or, can you name a football player who single-handedly won an entire Super Bowl? No, it is a team effort of offense and defense. We work better when we work with others and the military is no different.

Personally, I could never imagine my life without my friends and family. I am still close to many of the people I worked with at my previous bases. I know that no matter where I go I have friends or family that I can get in touch with to help me. So, at your next squadron gathering, walk around and say "hi" to the people there and put effort into really getting to know them. You never know, they may be the person that can help you when you need it most.