You service and maintain your farm machinery, but what about your body?
The nature of farming has changed. Not so long ago, farmers had to walk, run and climb to get through their working day. But trail bikes, quad bikes and all manner of machinery have gradually eroded this daily workout. Even the once-physical job of milking cows has become semi (and in some cases fully) automated – and uses only a fraction of the muscles it used to.
Alongside the outdoor job is an increasingly sophisticated indoor job that requires farmers to spend more time planning and managing their business from a computer workstation.
A recent health check of nearly 3,000 farmers shows how the changing shape of farming has impacted farmers’ fitness:
- About one in three were carrying too much weight
- A third had cholesterol levels that needed medical attention
- More than half had high or moderately high blood pressure
- Many were at significant risk of heart disease
- A third complained that pain interfered with their work
The obvious out-take of this research is that farmers need to inject physical movement back into their working day. As well as helping to prevent and address health issues, regular exercise ensures match-fitness for important annual events like calving and lambing, which still require physical strength and cardio endurance.
Fitness On The Farm
Fitness expert Dana Carver says keeping farm fit is about finding activities that you love – cycling, walking, hunting, fishing, diving, team sports – and making them a regular part of your week.
FIT4FARMING With Farmstrong
The health and fitness of NZ farmers is not where it could be, says fitness expert Ian Handcock. His message to farmers: ‘bike, walk, run – get your heart rate up.’