Fit on the Farm Back »

Written collaboratively by Nikki Prosch and Tara Shafrath (former SDSU Extension Health & Physical Activity Field Specialist).

Working on a farm can be a demanding career. Working from sun up to sun down and completing the never ending to-do lists can make finding time to exercise a challenge. The health benefits of squeezing in exercise are abundant and moving exercise to one of your top priorities should be a key behavior for running your business.

Importance of Exercise

Although regular job duties on the farm may include intense physical tasks, including carrying buckets, shoveling, fixing fence and lifting heavy loads, aerobic physical activity is still needed in addition to the short burst, physical tasks. Physical Activity Guidelines recommend activity in increments of 10 minutes or more for a total of 150 minutes per week to receive optimal health benefits. Exercise activities should be done in addition to regular job duties.

Generations ago, moving was part of an individual’s normal routine, but this has changed. Technology, machines, computers, and vehicles have replaced many forms of regular daily activity. Today we live in a world with bigger tractors, efficient and improved machines and less physical labor.

Exercise Tips

You don’t need a gym or any special equipment to start being physically active. Instead, make your farm your gym! Here are some ways to fit some exercise in on the farm:

  • Walking: Although it may be overlooked, walk as much as you are able when working on the farm. Instead of riding your 4-wheeler to grab the mail or go check the cattle, try taking a short walk to your destination instead.
  • Stretching: Long hours spent in the tractor and constant bending and lifting can put strain on your muscles. Stretching can be done while your seated in the tractor and truck or it can serve as a great way to break up long hours. For some easy stretches, check out the SDSU Extension Flexibility and Stretching resource.
  • Strength Training: Try doing push-ups on your tractor tire, bicep curls with your buckets, tricep dips on a fence or squats while waiting to fuel your machinery.

Every business needs a healthy, motivated leader to complete daily tasks and having optimal physical health is one of these components. Consider adjusting your daily routine and making physical activity an everyday habit.

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