Farm work can be hard, but while it might be great for maintaining general health, it’s not necessarily suited to helping you develop and maintain a fit and strong physique.
The great news is you don’t need to waste your cash or energy on trips to the gym to burn fat or build and tone muscle, you just need to get a little creative with the way you work.
Here’s a few tips on turning your day’s responsibilities into the ultimate farmyard workout:
Burn calories and fat with cardio
Modern farm vehicles are convenient but they do nothing for your health so when you’re checking the animals or fields, ditch the car, truck or quad, get your wellies on and go on foot.
Just walking at a pace that increases your heart rate will work your cardiovascular system to improve your heart and lung health and burn calories, but if you mix it up with a little interval training you can burn fat stores to reveal a leaner you.
Walk for five minutes, then run, jog or skip for one minute, and repeat.
Build muscle in the upper body
Carrying general farm supplies by hand will work the forearms and chest but you can exercise all of your upper body to improve your posture and balance, and strengthen muscles in the shoulders, arms, back and core, by simply changing how you lift and carry things.
Fill two buckets with feed, muck or water, loop them onto the end of a length of scaffold or other strong pole and carry them across your shoulders. Just remember to bend your knees when lifting to avoid placing any strain on your back, and turn sideways before trying to get through narrow doorways!
When lifting items like hay bales, feed bags or equipment that’s too heavy or too large to fit in buckets, slow down. Often, heavy items are moved with a quick heave and swing motion but by lifting them slowly, you can get in some great bicep curls that work the arms, pectorals and shoulders too.
Carrying items on your shoulders is also a great way to strengthen muscles in the neck, chest and upper arms but take care to lift them carefully to avoid straining your back and make sure you alternate sides to get a balanced upper body workout.
Build muscle in the lower body
Every time you use the wheelbarrow (start if you don’t already!) take a moment to do some squats: Grab your barrow handles right at the end so you have space to bend, then, while keeping your back straight, bend your knees to a 90˚ angle before rising back to a standing position and repeat five to ten times.
Squats work the largest muscles in the body which, apart from giving you strong legs that make farm work easier, act as a form of anabolic exercise that helps your entire body to grow muscle and burn fat efficiently.
If you’d prefer to build leaner muscle mass then try doing lunges too, they’re a great way to improve overall leg strength.
Lay a truck or tractor tyre on the ground and place your left foot on the edge. Put your hands on your hips for balance and then lower your right knee to a 90˚ angle and rise again. Repeat five to ten times on each leg.
The further you move your standing leg away from the tyre, the deeper the stretch and muscle-building benefits will be.
Have you got any other farmyard workout tips? Feel free to share them in the comments below, I’d love to hear them!
This post was written in collaboration with Chelfords