Print this page
Thursday, 17 March 2016 13:55

Farmers push for greater fitness

Written by 
Neil and Glenda Gray. Neil and Glenda Gray.

Dairy farmers Neil and Glenda Gray are ready to swap the paddock for the tarmac as they prepare for the Farmstrong Fit4Farming Cycle Tour.

The Grays are among 20 riders preparing to join the cycle tour from Ngatea to Bluff from March 18 to April 2.

The tour and supporting Farmstrong Challenge is to encourage farmers to think about the benefits cardio exercise can have on their overall physical and emotional wellbeing and how this can help with their work onfarm.

Glenda, a keen sportswoman, has recently suffered injuries that have slowed her down and severely affected her fitness.

"Cycling has been my saviour," she says. "I enjoy getting off the farm and riding with a huge range of like-minded people."

Neil, a keen rugby man and tramper, was drawn into cycling by his wife's enthusiasm for the sport. It's now an activity they enjoy together, getting them into the outdoors.

"It was an easy decision to say 'yes' to tour organiser Ian Handcock when he asked us to help promote wellbeing to other farmers.

"My family has farmed land in the Hauraki Plains for 100 years, and in the 30 years I've been in the agricultural sector I've seen big changes in farming practices," he says.

"Farmers these days are more stressed and face new pressures. To help overcome these challenges it's critical that farmers place more emphasis on looking after themselves, the better to look after their family, and their business – in short, steps to live and farm well."

Farm consultant Ian Handcock organised the tour following his research with Kelloggs.

Screen Shot 2016-03-16 at 8.16.05 pm"I thought we farmers were pretty fit, given we're out and about all day – and some certainly are. But the increased use of farm machinery, and other factors such as poor diet and stress, mean many of us are not in good trim and are at risk of serious illness such as heart disease.

"Adding a jog, walk or bike ride every now and then can have a big difference on our physical health, and our emotional wellbeing too, and it gives us a chance to get off the farm."

The Grays, Hancock and the rest of the Fit4Farming cycling group will host five Farmstrong event days across the country. Local farmers, growers and anyone connected with the primary sector are invited to take part in a small exercise challenge.

Farmers may also take part in the Farmstrong Challenge, a bid to get rural Kiwis to collectively clock up 4 million km of exercise by July 2.

www.farmstrong.co.nz/challenge 

More like this

Getting the balance right!

OPINION: Many sunsets ago, I learnt from one of the older father figures in my life the ageless truth that, “Balance is the key to life”. 

Safety mindset must change

WorkSafe NZ is calling on farmers and other rural businesses to treat health and safety as more than a compliance issue.

Featured

In for the long haul

The coronavirus epidemic is going to have a bigger impact than people think it is, according to Massey University Professor of Agribusiness, Hamish Gow.

Coronavirus situation ‘dynamic’ – SFF

Silver Fern Farms is giving weekly reports to its suppliers to keep them abreast of what it describes as a ‘dynamic situation in China and one that could change very quickly’.

 

Southern treasure or trash?

A man who bought an opencast Southland lignite mine 18 years ago no longer sells the coal for fuel, but sings its praises as stock food, fertiliser and soil conditioner.