Farm fit

The nature of farming has changed with the use of machinery and technology leading to less physical activity.

Injecting physical movement into your working day helps to prevent health issues and ensures match fitness for important annual events like calving, which still require physical and cardio endurance.

Physiotherapist Karen George has developed a 10-minute routine designed specifically for farmers called the ‘Turn on Your Core’ 4-Week Challenge. It will strengthen your core, warm you up for the day and help protect you from back strains and other niggles. It requires no equipment and can be done anywhere.

The 'Turn on Your Core' 4-Week Challenge

Make it a habit

Find a time in your day that works best for you. It could be first thing in the morning or when you break for lunch. Doing it at the same time as part of your daily routine helps it become a habit.

Start slowly

The key is to start slowly and add a new movement each week. You can repeat the routine more times and add additional movements as you get stronger.

Involve others

If you work with others, do it as a team before you start your day. Think of it like a team warm-up before a game, it will energise you and help prevent injuries.

What is your core and how do activate it?

First stand or sit tall and straight then draw in your stomach. It’s like you’re drawing in your belly button towards your spine. This should tense your mid section (your core). Breathe with your ribs to keep your muscles turned on, this can take some practice. Now your core is on!

The aim is to keep your core on during the 10-minute challenge movements. If you notice your core has switched off, just gently turn it on again. As you get better at turning on your core, you’ll find yourself doing it during the day when you’re out and about on the farm or even sitting in front of a computer or TV. This all helps with strengthening your core too.

What is involved in the Turn on Your Core Challenge?

The Core Challenge is for people of all shapes and requires no specialist equipment. Start at week 1 and repeat the routine up to 4 times at least 4 days. If you’re starting from scratch, it may take a few weeks to build up to the 10-minute routine.

The key is to start slowly and add in a new movement and more repetitions as you get stronger. As you build up to 10 minutes a day, 4 days a week, you’ll soon notice improvements.

For guidance on how to do each of the routines, you can view the videos for weeks 1-4 and download the poster and flyer.

Why is having a strong core good for farming?

Strong core muscles make it easier to do many activities like lifting things on and off the ute, bending down to tie up your boots or swinging a golf club.

Weak core muscles can leave you susceptible to poor posture, lower back pain, fatigue and muscle injuries. Strengthening core muscles helps prevent injuries and warms you up for the day. It can help you have more energy and feel stronger during busy times and may also help improve back pain.

Are there any risks with doing the challenge?

If you’re carrying an existing strain, injury or have a heart condition, check those out first with a physio or doctor to make sure all the routines are right for you.

If you are new to core exercises or are out of condition, start slowly and add in new movements and more repetitions each week as you get stronger.


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