SNCOA Condition Limited program keeps injured Airmen fit
By Jessica Casserly, Air University Public Affairs
/ Published June 26, 2009
MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- Instructors at Barnes Center's Senior Noncommissioned Officer Academy are using their "condition limited" program to help students on profiles exercise safely and stay fit.
When Senior Master Sgt. Robert "Bob" Orsi came to the SNCOA as an instructor a year ago, he was on profile with a knee injury which made it impossible for him to run.
Sergeant Orsi said he didn't want his injury to keep him from staying fit and exercising.
Seeing an opportunity to lean forward, Sergeant Orsi took the basic principles behind the academy's Monitor Fitness Group program and brought them to the next level in what is now known as the Condition Limited program.
"The goal of our program is to give Airmen on profile the ability to exercise and stay healthy," Sergeant Orsi said.
The unique program works around each individual's limitations, allowing them to get the most out of their exercise routine, Sergeant Orsi explained.
With a maximum of 30 students entering each SNCOA class on profile, Sergeant Orsi said the program is a great way to help them kick-start an exercise program.
Master Sgt. Christy Caskey, also a SNCOA instructor on profile, began helping Sergeant Orsi with the program from the start, "We wanted students to know that just because they are hurt doesn't mean they can't exercise. They can still exercise and be healthy."
The program utilizes indoor and outdoor exercise stations to create a routine that focuses on keeping students' heart rates up to burn calories and utilizes strength training to increase muscle strength, Sergeant Orsi said.
"We use Strive equipment inside the gym and we create various outdoor exercise stations," Sergeant Orsi explained.
"The students really enjoy the program," Sergeant Caskey said, "They have fun and they are motivated."
"This program is about using non-traditional exercises to make participants stronger," Sergeant Orsi said.
Students will never do the same routine twice in this program, said Sergeant Orsi.
Using elements from various fitness programs and resources, Sergeant Orsi and his fellow instructors have built a program that allows Senior NCOs to get the most out of the exercises they are able to do.
Sergeant Orsi said students are very surprised when they learn about the Condition Limited program.
Senior Master Sgt. Lorna Dembo, a student from Andrews AFB, Md., said, "I am wowed with [this program]. This is the first program that has challenged me without pushing my limitations."
Master Sgt. Paul Wise, a student from Hill AFB, Utah, said his profile won't allow him to run. "This [program] is a great alternative. It proves that even though I can't run, I can still stay in shape," Sergeant Wise said.
The program has additional benefits. Sergeant Dembo said, "I have lost weight in the three weeks I've been doing this program." She said she has noticed an increase in her strength and a change in her overall physique.
"This morning, I even noticed my uniform is a little looser," Sergeant Dembo said, "It feels good."
Both students enjoy the exercises the program offers. "I like the pull-up exercises best," Sergeant Wise said, "It works the whole upper body."
"I plan on continuing this program when I go home," Sergeant Dembo said. "I will even offer to guide people in my unit through the program."
For Sergeant Orsi, watching the program spread is the most rewarding part. "We're proud of our program and we'll share [the knowledge] we have," Sergeant Orsi said.
"We provide students with web sites and the exercises we use when they leave here. We get phone calls from Physical Training Leaders all the time asking about our program. We're happy to do it," Sergeant Orsi said.
Perhaps Sergeant Caskey said it best, "By the time these students leave here, they've changed their lives."