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Staying healthy in farm country

Matt Janus and Angela Ehrgott explain physical health tips to farmers during an Ag Health and Safety Fair held this winter in Pontiac / CIFN photo.

PONTIAC – There is a difference between physical activity and exercise and an area exercise physiologist hopes farmers realize that.

“Really, exercise should be done on top of physical activity,” explains Matt Janus with OSF St. James John W. Albrecht Medical Center.

Activity is anything your body is doing that is using up energy, while exercise is an activity to improve fitness. Janus believes working on the farm is great, but to really get added benefits from a cardiac standpoint, farmers should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week.

“That really can be broken up into as little as 10 minute bouts so you can get it in throughout the day.”

In addition to staying in shape physically, farmers should learn the proper ways to lift to protect back health. This includes not leaning forward while picking something up and utilizing team lifting whenever possible.

“Keep things moving so that it doesn’t develop into anything worse,” said Angela Ehrgott, a physical therapist with St. James Rehab.

Ehrgott believes walking is great for the body along with stretches first thing in the morning before the busy day begins.

“You have to think about bending at the knees and keeping your weight back through your heels, because if you come too far forward you’re going to put more pressure on your knees and then you might have issues there.”

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