Thursday, May 19, 2016

Fitness on the Homestead

Fitness? Is it important to the modern day homesteader? Why? What does it look like for those of us who spend our days covered in goat slobber and chicken poop? Is there a way to be fit as a homesteader (without adding more to our to-do list!).

First let me say- I do not like things that are impractical or expensive to do, after all, I have livestock to feed. Many fit-minded people seem set on the notion there must be money, memberships and plenty of time exerted to make fitness happen. I disagree. That lifestyle works for many, but it isn't for everyone.

By definition, fitness is the quality or state of being fit. Being fit is to be in a state of health and well-being. Please note: no where does skinny or thin play into the definitions! So what does it mean?

Being a fit homesteader, according to my philosophy and practice, means having the health and well being to fulfill the goals and tasks set about by my lifestyle. Can I handle the feed sacks and hay bales my livestock require? Do I have the energy and range of motion to clean stalls, trim hooves, and aide a sick animal? Is there stamina for the long days my lifestyle demands? These are the questions I ask myself when I consider fitness for my homesteading life. The level of fitness needed may be determined by the level of homesteader a person has chosen to be.

Let's consider my fit-ness day:
* strength- hauling feed, water, shavings, etc. this entails flexibility, range of motion, and strength- some parts of my chore routine are heavier than others
* walking- from gate to gate, pasture and stalls, there is plenty of ground to cover at a moderate or brisk pace
* running- ever herded goats or chickens?
* endurance- the days are long so my energy level needs to be fairly high

As you can see, most of my 'fit routine' come from daily activity required by my lifestyle; not to say some supplementation hurts. I often hike or walk trails, tracks, and wooded areas. Sometimes I use kettle bells to add to my strength routine. Yoga and stretching are regular for me as I desire to relieve soreness, maintain flexibility, and distress after a long day.

In the end, does it matter? I firmly believe being fit, no matter what our work, is vital. Parents and grandparents need a level of fit-ness to meet the demands of their family life (and work life). Singles, office personnel, clerks- we all need a level of fit-ness to maintain health and stamina.

Start where you are and go from there. Determine your fit-ness goals by how you feel and what your lifestyle demands.

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