Unlocking the Fitness Secrets of America’s Farmers

Lessons in fitness from South Dakota

Hay bales
Tired: kettlebells. Wired: hay bales.
Matthias Bein/picture alliance via Getty Images

The road to fitness isn’t easy, and sometimes it can take an unexpected route. One example: in the early days of the pandemic, the New York Times wrote about a group of formerly incarcerated people who had found a new purpose working as personal trainers. That’s not the only life experience that some enterprising minds have realized could translate well into finding routines to get other people in better shape.

Consider a field that involves a lot of heavy lifting, walking and time outdoors. Does working as a farmer have a direct condition to getting in shape? A recent article from Progressive Farmer chronicles the work being done by Amanda Nigg — founder of a South Dakota company called Farm Fit Training. As the article notes, her business focuses on clients working in farming and agriculture.

As she said to Progressive Farmer about the industry, “We’re working hard, but a lot of it is sitting.” Which begs the question: how does one rectify that?

As Progressive Farmer‘s article notes, Nigg’s focus has less to do with weight loss and more to do with achieving increased mobility and flexibility. There’s also an emphasis on stretching and exercise that people can do at home — one client quoted in the article mentioned that they don’t have an easily accessible gym in their vicinity.

Want to Live Longer? Stop Worrying About Weight Loss.
Stressing about shedding pounds only leads to unwanted “weight cycling”

Whether or not you’re working in agriculture, Farm Fit Training’s website has a substantial amount of practical advice there — including a post about not getting overly focused on one’s weight as opposed to overall fitness. Your day might not involve lifting heavy equipment or bags of fertilizer, but the basics of treating your body well still apply.

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