Keeping Fit for Calving

A series of videos designed to help women stay fit for the calving season is being promoted again this year by Farmstrong.

The videos aim is to help women prevent strains and injuries as a result of coming into the physically-intensive season unprepared. They were filmed a few years ago near Ashburton with a group of enthusiastic sharemilking women and friends.

The Fit for Calving stretches and warm-ups are tailored specifically to the needs of calf-rearers and strengthen muscle groups commonly used during the calving season.

The idea of the 6-week programme is that women start doing 5 to 10 minutes of exercises a day then build up to 20 minutes a day by the end so they ready to go.  The stretches work for women of all physical abilities and require no specialist gym equipment. Women can use household objects such as cans of food, buckets and chairs to complete the routines.

Siobhan O’Malley, who runs a sharemilking business of 600 cows, thinks the Fit for Calving videos are great resource for women. “I got involved because basically every year I come into calving unfit and within a couple of weeks I am hurting so badly. It’s great Farmstrong has got behind this so they can reach a wider audience.”

Rachael Rickard, one of the women who helped on the project, runs a sharemilking business with her partner about 3 kms out of Hinds in South Canterbury.  “When the calves start dropping and we’re picking them up and moving them round the sheds, we’re suddenly active in a different way on the farm. I think anything that helps women get more mobile so they stay injury free and get stronger before they do all that lifting is a great idea.”

Alice Liljeback also appears in the videos. She works alongside her husband sharemilking 350 cows on the outskirts of Methven and was involved in putting the programme together. She says, “Women are often so busy looking after the needs of their families and farms that they neglect their own wellbeing. Fit for Calving has been designed with them in mind.”

Farmstrong is a nationwide, rural wellbeing programme for farmers and growers. To find out what works for you and ‘lock it in’, visit


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