USS NEW ORLEANS, At sea - Sailors deployed aboard amphibious transport dock ship USS New Orleans (LPD 18) started a "Crews into Shape" fitness program, March 9.
The 12th annual challenge, sponsored by the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center (NMCPHC), is a four-week long event held at the beginning of every March in conjunction with National Nutrition Month.
"This is a health and wellness challenge that is open to all members of the Department of Defense (DoD). It's important to stay in shape, and this goes along with the Navy's culture of fitness," said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Edison Sayaman, the assistant command fitness leader aboard New Orleans. "You only have one body, so it's important to take care of it."
The New Orleans Crews into Shape team, dubbed the "Big Easy Sailors," is made up of 10 Sailors. Points are awarded to each member who engages in at least 30 minutes of moderate activity, 20 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise or muscle-strengthening exercise that work all major muscle groups. Points are also awarded for group exercise activity with their team and teams who eat two cups of fruit and three cups of vegetables per day.
Sayaman, who also serves as the team's crew leader, said he plans to have his team participating in physical activity as a group twice a week.
"The ship already has great programs to help us stay in shape, we have spin class, circuit training as well as flight deck runs," said Sayaman. "Group exercise also allows us to help motivate each other."
This year's challenge includes 730 DoD personnel registered on more than 130 teams.
Once the challenge concludes, points are tallied up and put into an overall database where teams from across the DoD can see where they rank with one another.
Crews into Shape has been organizing and emphasizing this team-based healthy lifestyle since 2001.
New Orleans and embarked Marines assigned to the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit are deployed as part of the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group, supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.
Physical fitness is one fo the main areas of the 21st Century Sailor and Marine initiative which consolidates a set of objectives and policies, new and existing, to maximize Sailor and Marine personal readiness, build resiliency and hone the most combat-effective force in the history of the Department of the Navy.