I was talking with Jim about staying in shape, but for a different purpose than most need. Some people are competitive athletes, others want to look good at the pool or beach, others want to be able to play with their kids without getting winded and others simply want to be in shape for looking good when out at night on the town.
We discussed something different. It was about being in shape to handle the rigors of living and working on ranches in the North Texas area. Jim mentioned several things which were of interest, and they don’t often come to mind for people living in the cities or suburbs. Staying in shape is a necessity when working on a ranch or farm, but some of the aspects are different than when getting in shape in the suburbs. Here are just a few:
- Eating more, but healthy, food. This is because the energy expenditure often is greater than most suburban and urban trainees
- Less focus on isolation exercise movements because you use your whole body lifting hay, moving equipment, cutting and trimming weeds, dealing with livestock and other full-body uses
- A focus on overall health is greater due to exposure to fertilizer, chemicals on crops, exposure to live animals, and much more. An emphasis on having a good local rural doctor is important, especially for those who don’t have the background of dealing with ranch and farm environments until later adulthood
- Lots of walking, including on hills and trails
- Some sprinting, and this requires flexibility
Another thing he talked about when it comes to Oklahoma and North Texas farms and ranches is conditioning your body to the weather. With the extremes in climate which North Texas ranches can experience, you have to be able to continue to operate in sub-zero weather (after wind chill), rain, sleet, snow, 100 degree-plus temperatures, high humidity and other weather-based factors such as insects and other elements found primarily in agricultural areas.
He emphasized that people need to talk with their doctors about all of these factors (changing their current nutrition & fitness regimens, dealing with animals & insects, being outdoors in harsh climate, etc.). Doing so, plus an emphasis on body weight exercises + being able to exercise carrying heavy objects (often at odd angles) will help someone begin to better prepare for life on a ranch or farm or other agricultural land in North Texas.