COMMIT TO BE FIT: Campaign promotes healthy lifestyle

By Laura Levering, Fort Gordon Public AffairsMay 13, 2021

1 / 5 Show Caption + Hide Caption – The track around Barton Field has plenty of extra morning traffic May 8, providing the course for the Run to Honor 5K and Army Ten-Miler Qualifier. (Photo Credit: Bill Bengtson / Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office ) VIEW ORIGINAL
2 / 5 Show Caption + Hide Caption – A medallion is ready for Augusta resident Hsien Tsung as he completes his 10-mile morning trot May 8, with three laps around Barton Field. (Photo Credit: Bill Bengtson / Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office ) VIEW ORIGINAL
3 / 5 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Lt. Col. Sam Burkett, Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center, covers the final few yards in the Army Ten-Miler Qualifier, a few steps ahead of Maj. Gen. Neil Hersey, commanding general, Cyber Center of Excellence and Fort Gordon. (Photo Credit: Bill Bengtson / Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office) VIEW ORIGINAL
4 / 5 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Sprinting to the final step of their five-kilometer run May 8 are Pvt. 1st Class Breanna Mitchell, 369th Signal Battalion, and Selidji Toffa, 313th Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment. (Photo Credit: Bill Bengtson / Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office) VIEW ORIGINAL
5 / 5 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Each person who participated in one of the run events on May 8 received a medal and wristband for completing the run. (Photo Credit: Laura Levering / Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office) VIEW ORIGINAL

Fort Gordon is joining Army installations across the world in observing National Physical Fitness and Sports Month through May with its Strong B.A.N.D.S. (Balance, Activity, Nutrition, Determination and Strength) program.

Strong B.A.N.D.S. is an MWR promotion “designed to energize and inspire community members to live a healthy lifestyle.”

Shannon Payan, Cyber Fitness Center manager and certified nutrition coach, will be distributing Strong B.A.N.D.S. wristbands at several events on Fort Gordon during May. The wristbands are meant to serve as a symbol of one’s commitment to a healthy lifestyle.

With the weather warming up and some COVID mandates being lifted, Payan said now is as good a time as ever to get outside and get moving.

“You don’t have to be a super-active person,” Payan said. “If you have a dog or kids, take them for a walk or to the park after dinner. Even something as little as parking farther away from the store is a start and adds up.”

For those who want to challenge themselves more physically, the Fort Gordon Run Series is a great option and is free to participate. The last runs, an Honor to Run 5K and Army Ten-Miler Qualifier, drew about 200 people. Neil Smith, DFMWR Sports director, said he hopes to see even more at the Greatest American Superhero Fun Run, a family-friendly 5K that will be held June 26.

“You can come dressed up as your favorite superhero,” Smith said. “We’ll have judges out here judging costumes, we’ll have prizes … it should be a lot of fun and great way to get active.”

While physical fitness is a key element in the Strong B.A.N.D.S. campaign, Payan said it’s important to understand it encompasses much more. There are many activities – and opportunities to get involved on Fort Gordon – that contribute to one’s mental health, which is a key component of a healthy lifestyle. Knitting is one of those activities, and there is a Knitting Circle that meets at Woodworth Library every Saturday.

“I don’t think it’s a commonly known fact that … knitting is something that helps wounded Soldiers concentrate and focus, and calms anxiety and depression as well,” Payan said. “It’s not always about a physical activity.”

Regardless of where you are on your journey, the main goal is to strive towards a better lifestyle.

“If we can get folks to start thinking about health and fitness, we’re headed in the right direction,” said Darrell Manuel, Army Sports director at the Family and MWR Command.

For tips on how to live a healthier lifestyle, along with chances to win health-related prizes, visit the All Army Sports Facebook page at