Farmers targeted in men’s health campaign

The Men’s Health Forum and The Farming Community Network (FCN) have collaborated to produce a unique booklet aimed at helping people stay fit and well in the countryside.

The new edition of Fit For Farming contains easy-to-follow information and advice for men – a group who can be reluctant to address health-related topics.

“The mind and body of the farmer is the best bit of kit on any farm,” says Professor Alan White, who wrote the foreword.

“With a little care, the high-performance machine that is the male body will run smoothly for a lifetime with just basic maintenance and minimal need for spare parts.”

The 40-page publication covers such topics as managing your weight, backs and bones, and cancer. “Though farming is an industry that continues to be resilient and responsive to the challenges it faces on a daily basis, working under these conditions can take its toll on the health of the farmer,” adds Professor White.

See also: Farmers needed to help rural dementia project

Back advice

When standing for long periods:

  • Head – keep it up and in line with your spine
  • Shoulders – relax and pull in your shoulder blades
  • Pelvis – keep your hips level while tucking in your tailbone to line up with your spine
  • Knees – keep slightly bent (not locked)
  • Feet – distribute the weight evenly

“Working in isolation, in extreme weather, with hard, physical labour, animal disease, endless bureaucracy, fluctuating input costs and commodity prices that create financial pressures, can all have effects that may lead to personal health problems and mental strain.

“While it is ostensibly aimed at men, we acknowledge the supreme contribution made by women and young people and we hope they will also find much of the information useful and informative.

“We need a vibrant, creative and energetic UK farming community as we operate in global markets to feed a growing world population. Good health will be at the centre of success.”

Charles Smith, chief executive of the FCN, says the current tough times in agriculture are contributing to a rise in health problems.

In the past 12 months, 30% of FCN’s cases have involved a physical health issue, while 33% have involved mental health.

“When you get busier and more tired, your health can get worse and you can be more prone to accidents,” says Mr Smith.

Farmers can be “notoriously bad” at devoting time to look after their health, but this book could help them, he hopes.

See a free pdf of Fit For Farming or get hold of printed copies (by giving a small donation to FCN) by calling 01788 510 866.

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