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Fitbit with picture of farmer tossing hay bale Georgethefourth/Getty Images
AG EXERCIES: Wouldn’t it be nice if Fitbit had an exercise category for “farm chores?” I would make my activity goals by noon.

Fitbit for farmers

Shouldn’t there be a daily chore exercise on Fitbit, Applewatch?

My wrist was vibrating. Out of habit I turned it over and looked down. "116 more steps left this hour." Are you kidding me? I was panting. I just helped my husband load a dead ewe, walk down the hill, dig a hole, unload said dead ewe, and my new Fitbit thinks I need more exercise!

In my quest to lead a healthier lifestyle, I invested in a Fitbit Versa. It helps me quantify my exercise and activity in a given day. Up until now, it has done a decent job at keeping track, that is until I started looking at it while doing farm chores. I am not getting any credit for that exercise. And trust me, farm work is hard.

With the Fitbit, I can swipe to the left and it offers me a selection of "exercises" to track. Then it displays categories such as run, bike, swim, treadmill, weights, interval timer and workout. None of these quite fit the farming lifestyle.

We all need to be healthy, but farmers especially. After all, who do they call for a sick day? So, devices such as Fitbits or Apple watches can keep them on track with activity.

Fitbit starts everyone off with a 10,000-step goal per day and breaks it down by hour for a reminder. Why 10,000 steps? It adds up to about five miles each day for most people, which includes about 30 minutes of daily exercise — satisfying the Center for Disease Control’s recommendation of at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. 

Let’s face it, sometimes getting those steps in on today’s modern farm is difficult. Machinery and all-terrain vehicles are making some work around the farm a little less physical. More time is spent sitting on a seat than walking. Still, there are plenty of opportunities to get the muscles working and heart rate up on the farm such as:

• hay bale throwing
• feed sack carrying
• T-post pounding
• fence building
• stall cleaning
• steer leading
• dead animal disposing

Thus, my plea for a new farm exercise category on these smart devices. However, I will not hold my breath. With less than 2% of the population actively involved in agriculture, the market may not support such change.

So, while my husband rides the tractor, I guess I will swipe left, tap run and head up the hill.

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