It’s pretty common these days to live a sedentary lifestyle.
For the majority of us, sitting is just something we do- whether it be in the car during our morning commute, at the office while working at our desks, or on the couch as night as we scroll on our smartphones while binge watching our favorite episodes on Netflix…
It’s easy to understand the benefits of trying to get that work-out in – especially when the majority of your is spent chained to a desk.
But what about those of us who have a physically active job?
- What about the stay-at-home mamas who are chasing busy toddlers around the house?
- What about the nurses who log in more steps by 8 am than most people do all week?
- What about the gardeners and farmers who work up a sweat digging + shoveling all day long?
Seriously, is exercise really all that important when your job is quite literally a workout in itself?
In the blog post, I’m sharing with you everything you need to know about working-out when your job keeps you physically active- so keep reading, friends!
As a farmer girl myself, I understand the struggle… I know what it’s like to spend all day on your feet.
You get home from work- your legs ache, your muscles are sore, all you can think about is sitting down + giving your body a rest…
You’re tired. Your energy is drained, and quite honestly, the last thing you’re thinking about is running to the gym to get a quick work-out in.
And really- you often wonder if you even need to?
It’s a question that begs to be answered: does having a physically demanding job excuse you from exercise? Or should you be doing more for your health?
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The short answer is: exercise is a key element to healthy living and there are plenty of reasons you may want to incorporate fitness that goes above + beyond your everyday-life.
You see, working-out isn’t just something you do when you want to lose weight. No- exercise is what allows you to train your body to better sustain the activity of your normal life (whatever that looks like for you).
In general, physically-demanding jobs tends to be repetitive.
And being able to safely perform the necessary movements of a physically demanding job requires a certain level of physical conditioning + endurance. For many of us in this line of work, we perform repetitive movements beyond our bodies’ natural ability.
Think about it: as a farmer, when’s the last time you moved just one bale of hay? During peak hay season, you, my friend, are more likely moving hundreds over the course of many hours.
Let’s be honest, when’s the last time you performed any on-farm job “just once”?- whether that be bending over to pick produce, twisting to care for sick animals, pushing or pulling to work on farm implements…
For my stay-at-home mamas- when’s the last time you picked up your little one “just once” in the course of a day?
And it’s the same question for nurses, teachers, waitresses + more- how often do you do any sort of physical task repetitively throughout your day?
Whatever the job- it’s likely you do a lot of it!
And while that repetitiveness helps to build physical endurance, it also puts you at risk for developing muscle and joint pain- which left untreated, can ultimately lead to more serious injury.
The problem with repetitive motion develops from the resulting microscopic tears that develop in our muscle tissue. Under normal circumstances and with proper rest, the body is able to naturally rebuild itself & repair the trauma to the tissue. However, when the body is unable to repair these tears as fast as they are being made, inflammation occurs, which we then decipher as pain.
What’s more, the repetitive use of certain muscles can lead to muscle imbalances later in life- another consequence stemming from the repetitive nature of the job.
To understand this more, it’s important to realize that every joint in the human body is surrounded by muscles that produce and control movement. Muscles on one side of a joint that become too tight from overuse cause the muscles on the other side of that same joint to become weak from lack of use. This is what we commonly refer to as a muscle imbalance.
These muscle imbalances serve as a potential cause of injury as they can not only affect the position of the joint at rest, but also change its path of motion during movement.
Have you ever experienced tight muscles that made it difficult to perform your normal tasks at work? It’s likely that in order to compensate for this stiffness you altered your movement in order to complete the job at hand.
Seriously when is the last time you picked up twenty 50-pound bags of feed from the mill and threw them into the back of your pickup truck with perfect form? Not likely! …and I’m not judging, I get it. But by reinforcing improper movement patters, we are putting our bodies at risk to sustaining some pretty serious injury down the road.
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So how can we correct these problems that result from having a physically demanding career?
Don’t worry, I’m not going to suggest you quit your job anytime soon! Rather, I’m encouraging you to reevaluate the importance of exercise in your life.
Yes, your job may definitely be a workout, but it’s no reason to skimp on your time in the gym.“When your job takes a lot out of you physically, it’s important to stay fit and build strength. Stretching can help loosen overworked muscles, while strength and stamina can help keep you performing well.”Click To Tweet
How can you add exercise into your life so it enhances, rather than hinders your physically demanding job?
Simple put- you have to be intentional with how you exercise.
Sure, it’s cool to boast to your friends your ability to bench press twice your body weight or to squat a fully-loaded bar- but how does it help your performance in day-to-day living?
You’re not training for a Strongman Competition, so instead focus on functional fitness exercises.
A functional exercise, by definition, challenges balance and coordination while simultaneously improving strength and range of motion. The importance of functional fitness is that it trains your muscles to work together and prepare them for daily tasks by simulating common movements you might actually do at work.
Ideally, a functional exercise will be a multi-joint exercise that works both the upper and lower body. As Mike Donavanik, celebrity trainer and fitness enthusiast, details: It’s all about creating synergy within the body. In daily activities, we utilize our body as a whole — even though an activity may be more upper- or lower-body dominant, we still rely on the other half for stability and support.
So what exactly does a workout that utilizes functional exercise look like?
Functional fitness is focused on building a body capable of doing real-life activities in real-life positions- so exercises often mimic movement patterns you already doing but with the added focus on muscle engagement.
It’s likely that you’ve done a variety of functional fitness exercises before, but you probably weren’t aware you were doing it.
If you’re looking for a functional fitness workout you can do at home, I encourage you to check out this full-body, at-home circuit developed by my dear friend, Sarah from The Army Girl’s Guide. It’s an effective workout you can complete almost anywhere with little to no equipment!
Also, if becoming healthier despite your busy (physically-demanding) schedule is truly something you desire, you’re going to want to check out my latest coaching program, Sustainably YOU!– it’s a 12-week coaching experience specifically designed to help busy women take back control of their lives + live healthfully!
Click the link to learn more on how you can experience more confidence, natural energy, and satisfaction for not only how your body looks- but more importantly, for how it feels!
Fitness isn’t about punishing your body, seeing exactly much it can handle…
Especially when you have a physically demanding job, fitness is about preparing your body to move efficiently and effectively so that you reduce injury, feel more energized + just move with greater ease!
After all, when you have the necessary strength to actually endure a long day- well, that’s when life gets just a little bit easier.
As always- here to support YOU! XO- Britney (ms.fit.farmer)