Being grass farmers ourselves, these rains late August and now in September have certainly been a boon for our cattle. One of the amazing things about farming is what is great for one farmer isn't necessarily gold for other. However we all share one need - to maintain our fitness & health.
Attention Rural Athletes (read - farmers)
Has your pre season training started?
We at Esperance Physiotherapy are also in the game of helping people maintain their health. Why? Well, for a couple of basic reasons. The old adage of 'prevention is definitely better than cure' and secondly to help you maintain your independence. The first is commonly understood, but I don't think people realise that if you have poor balance, weak leg muscles or chronic pain, it limits your independence and this in turn limits your quality of life.
Why are we talking about this? Over the next 2-3 months farmers across the district will be launching themselves into 12 hour sitting shifts. Is this good for the body? Absolutely not! For the first time in human history, inactivity & preventable diseases (diabetes, strokes, heart attacks) will kill more Australians than smoking. Why? Simply because of the lack of activity and exercise in our daily lives. Check out this website Designed to Move and 23 1/2 hours - what is the single best thing you can do for your health.
In a effort to address this issue we are recommending that farmers adopt a sporting approach. If the farming peak season is October - December (harvest) and March - May (seeding) then it makes sense to plan and prepare for these pressure times. Do you service your machinery and test it out before commencing? Obviously you do, but do you consider the operator, getting yourself in shape in the same way? Umm..... Not so sure about that response.
What can you do?
1.Sort out your niggles now. You wouldn't want to start harvest with some bit of machinery rattling when it could be fixed. In the same way, if you have noticed an ache or stiffness in your body, it probably won't get better sitting for long duration, especially if it is your spine. Get it sorted now.
2. Commit to a preseason preparation program. A preparation program is getting your body fit for the long periods of sitting to come. Kind of like storing up some resilience and creating a buffer, to minimise the chance of something going wrong physically, just when you don't need it. Remember Murphy's Law.
It could be a simple 30 minutes performed 3-4 times a week;
Walking for 10 minutes as warmup
1 minute of pushups (on knees or toes), walk 5 minutes
1 minute of squats (could add barbell weight in hands), walk 5 minutes
1 minute of hover or plank (on knees or toes), walk 5 minutes
1 minute of chin ups/pull ups on a tree branch
We can help you design a personalised exercise program, this is a physiotherapists specialty skill.
3. Use tools to assist when in the hot seat. To get around the dual issues of;
"I don't have the time ......" and "I don't know what to do ....."
we have designed and 'in cab' exercise program that will assist you to maintain spinal strength and mobility. Called CabChart, you read more about it here. They are available in the full range of harvester colors from Esperance Physiotherapy.
It is also a great OH&S tool to provide in your machinery for your workers. Helps them to also look after themselves.