If you’re like me, the idea of working out seemed unnecessary. I’d say, “I’m a pretty active farmer and my work has me moving every day so why bother working out?” And how about those of you in your prime (unlike me!) you might think you have plenty time to start, no need to worry about it now right? Well let me tell you there is no time to waste and here’s why:
We’ll start with the usual info, the stuff we’ve all heard I’m sure. A good workout improves your health, and strengthens your heart, arteries and lungs. Think in terms of being healthier in the future, the workout you do today allows you to live your best life as you age. And of course exercise helps control weight, and reduces the risk of diseases like certain cancers and type 2 diabetes.
Now, let’s talk about how it fits into our lifestyle. I recently watched an episode of my favorite local TV show that showcases the farming lifestyle here in California. This particular episode interviewed a long-time homesteader that manages her 2 acre property at the age of 80. 80! And to what did she credit as the reason for her incredible endurance? It was her pure love for animals, gardening and, her exercise routine. Her workouts improved her breathing (think about chasing a chicken), balance (tip toeing through the veggie patch), and flexibility (really, we all need this one).
For these reasons, you need to get a workout routine. Agreed? Start with one or more of the following basic exercises. I like to think of this trio as the foundation, add more over time to build your perfect routine. These are outstanding for core, glutes/leg and upper body strength and toning.
A good start would be to do this twice a week. Do 3 sets of 5-10 reps each.
Crunches For A Solid Core
Lie on your back with your knees bent and slightly apart. With your hands behind your head and your elbows out to the sides, curl forward lifting your head and shoulders off the floor. (Do not use your hands to lift, use your abs and curl up.) Exhale on the way up, inhale as you go back down. Repeat.
Tip: Do crunches slowly and with control.
Tip: Keep a little bit of space between your chin and chest.
Tip: Remember to keep your stomach pulled inward because it actually helps protect your lower back.
Leg Lifts On Hands And Knees
To do this you need to be on your hands and knees. Put your hands forward and lined up with your shoulders, and knees lined up with your hips. With a straight back, exhale as you lift one leg up until your thigh is parallel to the floor. Keep your foot flexed and inhale on the way down. Switch legs and repeat.
Tip: As mentioned above, keeping your abs pulled in really helps your lower back.
Tip: As you progress, bend the knee as you raise your leg to where your foot is more parallel to the ceiling.
Simple Push Ups For More Girl Power
To begin, lay down (on your stomach) with your hands flat on the floor next to (but slightly under) your shoulders. Lift/push your body up off the floor, straightening your arms and keeping your knees on the floor. Flex your feet so that your toes are touching the floor. Your body should be straight, and your abs tucked in. Bend your arms and lower your body back down very close to the floor but without actually touching it. Repeat.
Tip: Make sure your elbows are close to your body as you lower yourself downward.
Tip: Advance to a slight pause – in the downward position, hold the position for half a second longer.
Tip: Advance to lifting your feet up – with knees still on the ground, cross your feet, raise them up behind your butt and keep them there until finished with the reps.