The Fitness Fixer
The Fitness Fixer

Farm Work, Lifestyle Exercise, and Preventing Overuse Pain

Reader Ivy from New Zealand wrote me that she was house-sitting for friends on their farm. When you read her note, remember that Ivy is a great-grandmother,

"You were very much on my mind yesterday. My friends had arranged for someone to come onto the property to feed the stock. By 5pm no one had turned up so I decided that I would have to do it myself.

"Picture me pushing wheelbarrow loads of hay - carrying buckets of water to fill the troughs and so the list goes on. The paddocks were muddy so had to wear gumboots. I was terrified of falling over. Chickens to be fed, eggs to fetch, pony to be fed plus the sheep and cows. Two of the water troughs had to be filled by hand hence the buckets. I tried to crawl (yes crawl) through the bush to get the hose through to no avail. I can laugh now, however, it wasn't funny at the time.

"This is where you come in - I kept repeating these words to myself the whole time "Now do what Dr Jolie has taught you, use your abs, tuck your hip" (to neutral spine so that the lower spine does not overarch) - "Squat, Ivy, squat - don't bend over."

"The whole thing took me 2 hours - I really thought I would have back ache and that the sciatica would rear its ugly head, but no, I am fine (Jolie's note: Ivy stopped previous sciatica using these healthy techniques). My evening meal consisted of a slice of bread and some fruit - I was too tired to even think of cooking. After a hot shower, I fell into bed exhausted and slept through until 6.30am. I don't have any aches or pain.

"That was my day."

I mailed Ivy a few days later to check how she was feeling. Ivy was still great and wrote,

"The neighbours arrived to check the sheep which are ready to drop their lambs. Needless to say Dr Jolie, I am hoping that they hold off until Harriet and family arrive back home on Monday."

We will see if there will be a post about Ivy using good bending and sitting mechanics to tend birthing sheep and baby lambs.

Related Fitness Fixer articles to learn the skills Ivy used:

Readers have asked for posts on wrist strength and stopping wrist pain with use and exercise. It is in the works. I am also still working on the post I started with, where Ivy wrote of success doing a hip stretch, coming soon.

Readers, feel inspired, get out of the gym and have some fun lifestyle exercise, have fun taking photos, and send in your own success stories.

Horse photo by lostinfog
Chicken photo by Mad City
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About the Author


Dr. Bookspan is an award-winning scientist whose goal is to make exercise easier and healthier.