Monday, February 25, 2013

Farmer Fitness ...

In case you missed it ... this past July I completely shredded my achilles tendon while playing the manly game of co-ed slow pitch softball. The doctor said that it looked like two mop heads, but he put it all back together and after a few months of casts and a walking boot I was as good as new. I guess I should say that technically me tendon was as good as new, but my right leg muscles were pretty much worthless and my overall physical condition had suffered from all of the sitting that I had to do. I went to physical therapy as long as my friends at the medical insurance company would let me, and then I was on my own. For the most part I thought I had recovered. Sure my ankle was stiff when I would get up in the morning or if I had sat at my desk for an hour or so, but all in all I was getting things done on the farm relatively okay.

Then I went to play basketball ... the first real physical activity since my injury ... and I found out that I wasn't really back to normal yet. It turns out that my right leg muscles were still a bit mushy and squishy! I guess it is something that I knew, but I just figured that by working on the farm and doing my daily chores I would get myself back into shape. After playing (sort of playing) basketball that night I realized that I needed to take my physical conditioning seriously and get ready physically ready for the heart of my farming season that will be here before I know it.

All of this has led me to the local Recreation Center where I have found myself doing all sorts of things that I didn't even do when I was a "race winning" cross country runner (it may or may not have been a junior varsity race). I've been running on the treadmill, going into the weight room to work on specific leg muscles, striding on these weird exercise machines, and huffing and puffing a lot! Besides realizing that I am out of shape I have also begun to think about the importance of fitness to a small-scale farmer like myself.

Trust me ... you get a workout on the farm no matter what kind of farm you have! But, when you are tromping through a three acre paddock trying to pick four pigs out of forty to load on the trailer it helps to have a little bit of physical fitness ... because it may or may not take you awhile (although I have improved my system over the years). I can easily see the benefits of continuing at least a modest "Farmer Fitness" routine ... even if it just means jogging a few days a week to get the heart rate up through running for fun instead of just running from that momma sow out in the woods! Plus, with my families blood pressure and heart issues it might not be a bad idea.

If you have anything that you do to keep your "Farmer Fitness" level up I'd love to hear about it!


Prairie_Locust said...

Great to find your blog. I am also starting out farming. I have started from scratch. I would like to find others to talk with about farming and so forth. Also that looks like an Moline tractor in that pic? Richard

Rich said...

Like you said, I get enough of a workout just from working around the farm. But, I also do an awful lot of walking.

About half of the farm is only accessible by foot (or it's a lot quicker to just walk) so I don't have much choice but to walk.

I'll walk the fences to check them, walk when I'm checking on the cattle or moving them, walk to scout for deer or turkeys, walk if it's too muddy to drive in the pasture, walk to check the wheat fields, or just walk to see how the grass is growing.

There's an old saying about "...the best fertilizer is a farmer's footsteps...", and it might be that the best exercise for a farmer is a farmer's footsteps.

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