Team AEDC craft workers making exercise a priority
By Jill Pickett, AEDC/PA
/ Published July 08, 2019
ARNOLD AIR FORCE BASE, Tenn. -- Safety boots and blue jeans are not typical workout clothing, unless you’re a busy craft worker at Arnold Air Force Base.
As the workload increased and the workday grew longer for Pipefitter Steward Mike Lance, his workout time disappeared. After a couple months, he decided to forego lunch for exercise.
“I told some of them (his co-workers), I said, ‘I’ve got to do something to get back on my routine, to get some cardio exercise,’” Lance said.
Fitting in a workout is important to him because he had quadruple bypass surgery in 2014. Lance said his doctor told him, “The three most important things I can tell you is –exercise, exercise, exercise.”
Lance told his co-workers he was going to bring in his bike and one or two others said they would as well. After they began riding, more workers joined the group.
He sees others walking at lunch, but biking is what he enjoys.
“You get a little wind in your face, kind of like riding a motorcycle, you’ve got that freedom feeling when you’re out there cruising through,” Lance said. “You can feel your heart pumping. And it’s good for you.”
The group rides every day, Monday through Friday, weather permitting.
They usually begin at the Arnold AFB Model and Machine Shop, but if riders are deployed or assigned to another location then they adjust, either meeting up or riding in multiple groups.
The group, ranging in age from 20s to 60s, has been averaging four miles a ride, according to Lance. They have multiple routes and will adjust the length of the ride based on factors such as the temperature or if they get a late start.
“Everybody seems to like it,” Lance said. “We’ve had some people that didn’t even have a bike that went out and bought a new bike just to ride.”
They ride for exercise, but Lance has noticed another benefit.
“It’s a stress relief,” said Lance. “I think it makes everybody feel good when they get back. It’s just a way to get some tension relief from all the work we’re doing right now.”
Lance appreciates working at a place that is bicycle-friendly. He noted the good roads, pleasant scenery and little traffic with drivers that are courteous.
Warner Holt, Test Operations and Sustainment contractor group manager for manufacturing services, is supportive of the Model and Machine Shop team members and their exercise efforts but also encourages safety.
“I think it is great that our folks are riding bikes to improve their health during their lunch period,” Holt said. “We constantly reinforce the importance of safety at the Model Shop, so it is important for those who are participating in this form of exercise to bear in mind the dangers associated with riding bicycles on our streets. They must always be cautious and must pay close attention while they are sharing the roads with others.”
Anyone interested in joining the group can call 931-454-6233 to receive the departure location.
“We’re trying to talk other people into joining us,” Lance said. “We’d like to have all we can.”