MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. -- Desert sun rays beam on service members every day aboard the Combat Center. As the seasons transition into the summer, Marines and sailors will continue to train and exercise. The 101 Critical Days of Summer campaign began, May 26, 2014, to raise awareness on safety for recreational activities and workouts in the rising temperatures of the season. Whether in the field or on the main side of the base, it is important to consider the weather when planning activities.
The Combat Center offers many alternatives to outdoor exercise at facilities aboard the installation.
“We just want to make sure people on base know the gyms offer free weights, treadmills and other facilities they can use instead of going outside where they can potentially sustain heat injuries,” said Felicia Crosson, health and wellness coordinator, Semper Fit, Marine Corps Community Services.
Marines aboard the Combat Center make use of the indoor facilities frequently and understand how effective they are at keeping Combat Center patrons out of the sun.
“I use the gym because of how practical and convenient it is,” said Lance Cpl. Gabriel Emery, supply admin clerk, Headquarters Battalion. “If I can lift then immediately go to a treadmill and run, that means I don’t have to ruin my schedule to get the workout I want.”
The facilities offer programs like High Intensity Tactical Training and workouts for anyone to participate in. The East Gym offers aerobics, weights, racquetball, and a basketball courts for recreational sports or leagues that are run by MCCS. The West Gym offers the same, but includes two buildings which contain a rock-climbing wall and HITT facilities like the Hypoxic Chamber, which makes the air quality inside feel like training at 10,000 feet above sea-level.
Programs such as yoga, HITT, cycling, Zumba, cardio circuits and more can be found at the base gyms for service members and their families to participate in.
“Both gyms offer a lot to anyone who wants to use them,” Crosson said. “We also offer programs with dedicated schedules for service members to try new things while they’re here. The more we have to offer at the gyms, the safer we can make the base by keeping them out of the harsh conditions during the summer.”
Family members of different age groups can also utilize programs and facilities offered at the gyms such as the rock-climbing program for children.
“We’re open to families as well and offer events like rock climbing for children to be introduced to with parental supervision,” Crosson said.
For those who would like to break out of the gym for a moment, a new training area has been made available.
“A new turf has also been added by the West Gym to offer other exercise opportunities like rope climbing, tire flips, pull-up bars and Olympic weights so Marines can train on grass-like material. The turf by the West Gym was made with sand so the ground does not heat up as quickly and gives Combat Center patrons a safe alternative because they are closer to the gym,” Crosson said.
The opportunities offered at these gyms give many options to units, individual service members or anyone who wants to get a well-rounded workout while staying out of the heat, according to Emery.
“Our main concern is safety,” Crosson said. “As things heat up on base, we want to make sure people don’t go out there and run at the hottest point of the year where they can suffer from dehydration or heat stroke. We have the facilities to provide a good exercise alternative which is most important.”