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Wellness Journey: Sanders starts new cycle free of tobacco use

by on July 25, 2014
Frank Sanders spends some quality time on his boat. He is also an avid bicyclist after quitting the tobacco use habit 10 years ago.

AEP cares about the safety, health and well-being of its employees and retirees. All employees are invited to share their stories about the changes they are making to live healthier lives. This “Wellness Journey” is from Frank (Norm) Sanders, operations specialist at Knox Lee Power Station in Longview, Texas.

Where I was and how I got there:

I started smoking at a young age. Somewhere along the line, I also picked up the smokeless tobacco habit.

My turning point:

I had just finished a dip of smokeless tobacco in the control room one night. As I ran my tongue along the inside of my bottom lip, I felt some small bumps. I looked in a mirror and saw several small raised white spots. I was aware of smokeless tobacco causing oral cancer. I was concerned enough, so I made the decision to stop dipping. The spots went away once I quit. Since that time, I have also kicked the habit of smoking cigarettes. I can relate to others who have talked about how difficult it is to quit, but I am now tobacco free.

Significant changes:

I haven’t used tobacco in over 10 years. I can now take a deep breath without that little catch in my throat. My doctor told me more than once that breaking the tobacco habit was one of the best choices anyone could make to improve their health.

Staying on track:

I was overweight when I quit smoking and I started going on bike rides. At first, I could only go a few miles. I will share a tip I discovered — whenever the craving hit me for a cigarette, it would go away if I exerted myself a little and raised my respiratory rate. My longest bicycle ride is now 40 miles. Due to a health issue I couldn’t ride last year and have gained some weight back. I plan to start riding again very soon with some 10- and 15-mile trips. Just for the record, I will be 63 next month and a 10-mile ride is not a problem if I pace myself.

Paying it forward:

I think exercise has to be fun. For me, a bike ride taking different routes breaks the monotony of exercising in one spot.

Do you have a wellness journey you’d like to share? Your story can be about weight loss, overcoming an illness, maintaining good health habits or some other health-related topic. Just send an email to dpwaitkus@aep.com.

From → Wellness

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