Feature Article - March 2008
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Working With Warriors

Military Fitness and Recreation: Serving Those Who Serve

By Richard Zowie

"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy," an old adage made famous in the 1980 horror film The Shining, helps describe the importance for military service members of relieving their occupational stress through relaxation and recreation. Bases across America and throughout the world offer a vast array of alternatives for helping our troops get the fulfillment they need when taking a break from serving our country.

ases provide these types of activities through their fitness centers and recreation centers, where the services offered usually depend on the location of the base. Bases located near the ocean, for example, might offer more aquatic activities, while bases located in colder climates might offer things like skating and skiing.

"Frankly, I think each military base is unique, so I see more similarities than differences," said Robert Torres, public affairs officer at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Texas.

Torres talked about the activities on NAS Corpus Christi that give it so much appeal. "I suspect that the on-base saltwater fishing and the easy access to bay and gulf fishing is somewhat unique," he said. "Kayaking, wind-sailing and other water-related sports are a premium with all the sun and warmth of the Coastal Bend area."

Fitness centers offer standard amenities like weight rooms, basketball and racquetball courts, volleyball, cardio machines, tennis courts, and running tracks and paths. There also are classrooms for aerobics and martial arts. Outside, there are more activities, like softball, beach volleyball, flag football, soccer, golf, sailing and even some unusual sports, like Frisbee golf.

Some bases offer picturesque fitness activities, such as Naval Air Station Pensacola's one-way eight-mile running trail that runs the length of the water near the base.

And speaking of water, if you like swimming, there's plenty of that as well, in the form of pools and even competitive swimming.

For those who like to camp, NAS Corpus Christi offers such capabilities at its marina. It features recreation vehicle slots, and rentable mobile homes that can be set up at the RV part or hitched to a vehicle and used for camping.

And, of course, in today's rapidly evolving technological environment, recreation centers are usually equipped with Internet access—making it easier for service members to instantaneously keep in touch with their family and loved ones.