Insights Lifestyle

Viewpoint: Tend to your own health, as you do your farm’s


During some of the busiest times of the year (harvest, planting, or calving season, as just some examples), I’m guessing the absolute last thing on your mind is how you’re going to stay healthy and active in the midst of it all.

You’re focused on getting the equipment ready, the bins or storage area prepped, the decision about what to do with the grain, and on and on and on. I know because I’m married to somebody who is checking and double checking all these things and even when we’re still weeks out.

On our farm, once the machinery starts rolling, I will be working right alongside my husband, Matt. I will leave to check my calving cows morning and night. I will check the rest of the cows in the morning while Matt services the equipment or unloads the last load of the night.

Harvest, for example, is a season. You know this. A full, long, drawn out season. A season that we hope has only minor break downs, dry crops when you get to them, and long days. I don’t know about your operation, but on ours, sometimes attitude and tempers get the best of us. We are grouchy from sitting in a seat for so long. We’re grouchy because no matter how fast everything runs, it isn’t fast enough. We’re grouchy because we’re getting very little sleep. There is no more time in your day to add anything else to it during harvest season. But, I’m going to beg you to change that.

Stay with me here. You have 10 minutes somewhere in your day somewhere. Ten minutes, that’s all I’m asking. OK, I’m asking 10 minutes twice a day, so 20 minutes. But that’s it! Find that much time for your body. Maybe it’s two minutes here and four there. But find 10 minutes, twice a day. You have one body. And you won’t be harvesting anymore if you don’t take care of it.

Maybe you run the grain cart and have a few minutes between loads. I have been the one sitting in line at the elevator doing exercises while waiting. Quit worrying about what everybody else is thinking, get off social media, and get out and move your body. At least walk around your truck. If you run the combine, do 10 minutes before you get in and 10 minutes while it’s cooling down at night. I get it, the combine needs to be running. I hear you. I absolutely do. But you have got to move your body or it won’t work for you and we need our bodies in tip top shape like you have your equipment is in.

But, Kelsey, what do I do in that 10 minutes? Well, it’s all going to depend on your fitness level. Maybe it’s just walking. Walking is so good for all of us. YouTube is full of workout videos. Recently, I’ve stumbled upon Pamela Reif on YouTube. She has different lengths, different videos based on what part of your body you want to focus on, and it’s to the point and highly effective.

Do something! Set a timer on your phone for 10 minutes and move. It doesn’t have to be hard or extensive or fancy. Just move your body.

Now, that I have convinced you that 10 minutes, twice a day of movement is vital to your operation, let’s talk about water consumption. You are sitting for hours and hours everyday, probably doing the same thing over and over again. Your brain goes on auto pilot. Plus, you’re working very long days and you’re just physically tired (moving your body will get those endorphins flowing and help with fatigue). Water is your best friend. Seriously drink it. Your body will thank you by feeling much better getting you through a rough season.

You don’t expect your combine to run without spending weeks getting it ready and combing over all the details. You don’t expect it to operate without grease or fuel or clean filters. You take care of your equipment far better than you take care of your body, I almost guarantee it. Does spending six figures on a new combine scare you enough to take care of the one you have? At least you can buy a new combine; you can’t buy a new body when you wear this one out.


Kelsey Pagel is a Kansas farmer. She grew up on a cow/calf and row crop operation and married into another. Kelsey and her Forever (Matt) farm and ranch with his family where they are living their dream and loving most of the moments.

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