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HAMR Time: Indoor alternative to 1.5-mile run can help boost fitness, resilience

Reservists take part in the 20-meter High Aerobic Multi-shuttle run at Youngstown Air Reserve Station, Ohio. (Courtesy photo)

Reservists take part in the 20-meter High Aerobic Multi-shuttle run at Youngstown Air Reserve Station, Ohio. (Courtesy photo)

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. --

Jason Ham, Air Force Reserve Command’s fitness, health promotion and resilience program coordinator, is very excited about a new initiative he thinks will boost both fitness and resilience throughout the command.

Since January, AFRC has been testing and implementing the 20-meter High Aerobic Multi-shuttle Run, the 20m HAMR, as an indoor physical fitness assessment alternative to the 1.5-mile run in lieu of the weather waiver. 

Reserve host installations began phasing in the new 20m HAMR test on Jan. 1. Tenant locations started phasing it in July 1.

In the past, AFRC granted a physical fitness assessment weather waiver for installations that experienced extreme weather conditions. As a result, cardiorespiratory exemptions increased throughout the command and many Reserve Citizen Airmen went lengthy periods of time without completing a composite physical fitness assessment. On average, AFRC issued 1,800 to 2,000 weather waiver exemptions annually. 

The 20m HAMR will only be administered whenever a location is experiencing extreme weather that would preclude a safely administered outdoor 1.5-mile run test and an indoor running facility is not available. The test can be safely conducted on an indoor basketball court and has the same ability to predict aerobic capacity as the 1.5-mile run.

“We’re super excited about the 20m HAMR,” Ham said. “We had six AFRC host installations conduct a three-month feasibility/validation study using 330 test subjects and the results show the HAMR is a valid alternative to the 1.5-mile run in assessing predicted aerobic capacity.”

Ham said he believes the HAMR can also have a positive impact on a Reservist’s resilience.

“There has always been a lot of anxiety for some people when it comes to the 1.5-mile run because you have to finish the entire distance to be scored,” he said. “With the HAMR, the member can stop if he or she is exhausted and the test is still scored.

“We’ve also heard a lot of members complain over the years that how fast they can run a mile and a half is not indicative of whether they are fit to fight or not. We feel like the HAMR has more face validity because it addresses agility, balance and coordination and closely represents a combat related skill – attributes members will need if they are serving in the AOR (Area of Responsibility).”

AFRC is planning on a two-year adaptation period for the 20m HAMR. During that time, there will be an all gain/no loss option where passing scores will be counted and unsatisfactory scores will be discarded.

Ham said the 20m HAMR is an important part of AFRC’s overarching fitness program.

“The goal of the fitness program is to motivate all Airmen to participate in a year-round physical conditioning program,” he said. “Health benefits from an active lifestyle increases productivity, optimizes health and decreases absenteeism while maintaining higher levels of fitness.”

Reservists with questions or concerns are encouraged to contact afrc.a1rz@us.af.mil. #ReserveResilient   ■