Monday, July 2, 2012

Dave and I are both 64 years old. Most of the time we don’t feel that old. We know lots of people our age with bad backs, bad knees, or big bellies that limit what they can do with their bodies. We know farmers who have to use a four wheeler instead of walking their pastures, who raise beef cattle instead of dairy cattle because it’s physically easier, who shifted from small square hay bales to big round hay bales so they wouldn’t have to lift by hand. Only skidsteers or tractors can lift the big rounds.

Haying and lambing are the two most physically exhausting times of our year. During haying, if we don’t have extra help, we lift 70,000 pounds of dried alfalfa in 50 pound bales from the baler to the wagon, from the wagon to the elevator, and from the elevator to the stack in the mow. During lambing, we spend hours of every day out in the cold. We walk, kneel, lie down, climb, lift, wrestle, chase, and tackle much more than we do the other eleven months of the year.

One of the reasons we can still immobilize a 150 pound ewe or lift a 50 pound bale, or catch a 10 pound lamb that squirts around the barnyard much faster than we can, is that we keep in good shape the rest of the year by working and exercising. Dave rows, I run or snowshoe almost daily, and we both work out by Skype with Amber, our daughter and personal trainer. That one hour workout each week, by a trained person who sees us better than we see ourselves, stretches tight muscles, strengthens weak muscles, improves our balance and keeps us limber. I hadn’t realized how the range of motion of my head had decreased until Amber helped me enhance it. When I wrenched my back lifting Dave’s backpack before a camping trip, Amber helped me focus on the muscles that hurt and then strengthen them. She worked with me for over a year until the pain was completely gone in almost every situation. Dave hadn’t seen the changes in his posture until they began to improve with his weekly workouts.

The work necessary to farming helps keep us active, but having our very own personal trainer keeps us fit enough to continue farming.

No comments:

Post a Comment