You already know that exercise is good for your body. But did you know it can also boost your mood, improve your sleep, and help you deal with depression, anxiety, stress, and more?
So why aren’t more of us using this to boost our mental wellbeing? In a survey by Farmers Weekly, 55% of farmers who responded claimed they exercised outside work but only one third said they did so once a week or more.
Exercise releases chemicals like endorphins and serotonin that improve your mood. It can also get you out in the world, help to reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation, and put you in touch with other people.
If you exercise regularly, it can reduce your stress and symptoms of mental health conditions like depression and anxiety and help with recovery from mental health issues.
- You’ll feel more energetic throughout the day
- Sleep better at night
- Have sharper memories
- Feel more relaxed and positive about yourself and your life.
- It can relieve stress and boost your overall mood.
But I’m a farmer, the nature of the job is physical. Aren’t I getting enough exercise?
The simple answer is no. Farming has changed over the years and, although the introduction of machinery and technology means there is less physical work than there used to be, you will still spend long days bending, squatting, grabbing, twisting, pulling, pushing, cutting, walking, running, jumping, dragging, digging, pounding, lifting, tossing, catching, and reaching… but, while farming is still a physically demanding way of life, it is not as active as it was in the past so you need to look after yourself as part of looking after your farm.
What can I do?
- Walking – the easiest way to start getting active, a good brisk walk every day
- Running – this can cost nothing but your time
- The Gym – you can do this in person or join virtual classes
- Dance – even if it’s in your kitchen
- Yoga – online sessions are a great way to see if this works for you
- Swimming – cold water swimming can help to improve mental wellbeing by boosting dopamine levels and increasing the release of endorphins.
How much should I do?
Any activity is better than none.
Guidelines say adults should aim for 150 minutes of moderate exercise every week. If you are starting from scratch don’t try to do too much – start off with baby steps (literally!) and build on that. Try 30 minutes a week to begin with. This can be broken down into 10-minute blocks if that works.
Fit to Farm
We know it’s hard for you to find the time in a day that starts early and can end late, but your body and your mind will thank you for taking regular exercise and, ironically, you’ll find it gives you more energy overall. Research shows that modest amounts of exercise can still make a real difference.
No matter your age or fitness level, you can learn to use exercise as a powerful tool to deal with mental health problems, improve your energy and outlook, and get more out of life.