Routine exercise is everywhere on the farm.

| March/April 2008

Illustrations by Rayne Beaudoin

The other morning while coming down the stairs, I happened to glance in a mirror. Boy, was I stunned! Gazing back at me was not the slim, rakishly handsome 25-year-old farmer I expected to see. No, I was face to face with a pudgy 48-year-old with baggy eyes.


My first thought was It’s amazing what a bad night’s sleep can do. However, I quickly realized that, sometime between yesterday and this morning, I had aged 23 years and gained about 40 pounds. I knew I had to do something, so I formulated an immediate plan. Unfortunately, my wife, who is a good deal faster, stopped me before I had the mirror halfway to the trash can. OK, switch to plan B.


You know, when you look around, you discover that a lot of country folks are at least a little out of shape, and poverty is partly to blame. Rural people are often below-average earners, and as such are forced to eat farm fare like beef steaks, fried chicken, homegrown potatoes with butter and sour cream, bacon, eggs and fresh whole milk. Depressing, isn’t it?


Another problem we country people face is a lack of exercise. Since many rural folks have three or four jobs, we tend to work too hard to find time to get into shape. Most gyms are too far away and cost too much. And gym owners object to the mud and manure that flakes off our exercise shoes. Fortunately, after at least a half hour of intense thinking, I’ve come up with a solution. It’s an exercise program that fits the farming lifestyle; simple things a farmer can do while working, thus conserving valuable time for other activities like emergency chiropractic work and physical therapy.


I call my program Farmercise.


Begin with stretching


As most workout experts will tell you, stretching before any exercise is vital. However, work time does not have to be sacrificed for stretching. First, begin by collecting a few tools. Next, select a piece of machinery. It could be your truck, tractor or combine. OK, now shinny underneath and remove something from the underside. It really doesn’t matter what you remove. Use whatever tool seems to work best. I’m partial to a large screwdriver and a ball peen hammer.

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