South Taranaki dairy farmer Kane Brisco. Photo / Farm Fit NZ Facebook
A South Taranaki dairy farmer is putting that famous Kiwi No 8 wire mentality to good use by creating a home gym from farm equipment.
Kane Brisco has gained a following on social media through Farm Fit NZ with stretches and exercises which are designed to give farmers a wider range of movement and build their strength.
Brisco was keen to create a farm gym for the local community but wasn’t so keen on buying “all the fancy gear” he told The Country’s Jamie Mackay.
This, coupled with his love of working outdoors, led to the creation of his grassroots farm fitness approach.
“It was a matter of making do with what we had. So, a lot of containers, a lot of tractor tires, sledgehammers, posts – you name it, you’ll find it here.”
The experimental approach paid off and Farm Fit NZ was born, Brisco said.
“It’s been great. It goes out to prove that you don’t need a fancy gym or you don’t need a lot of money to get fit and strong.”
Flipping tires and carrying 20L water containers also reminded Brisco of farming back in the day.
“It sort of harks back to the old days of farmers doing that manual labor that probably we don’t do as much as we used to.
“So it’s a good little nod to the former generations and our ancestors that really broke in the land and did the hard yards that we don’t have to do anymore so much. So, you know, it’s awesome.”
Sharemilking 350 cows in Ohangai, near Hawera, Brisco is no stranger to the odd strain and niggle brought on by the job.
He said staying farm fit was important for joint care as well.
“Sheep farmers usually get it in the knees and [for] dairy farmers [it] is more the wrists, elbows and shoulders [that] tend to pack up a bit quicker.”
He suggested building strength around the joints to help alleviate some of these problems.
“Injuries aren’t the reason to stop getting stronger. They’re actually the reason to start.”
Improving his strength and flexibility meant Brisco could perform better on-farm and he didn’t lose mental clarity due to fatigue.
“The hard jobs on the farm actually become more enjoyable because they’re not so hard.”
There were also benefits for “the top paddock” as Brisco used farm fitness “as a training ground for my brain”.
“The same theory that grows a muscle also works for our minds. It is about using it, it’s about flexing it, it’s about doing the reps.
“The mind is just like a muscle, in that it needs to be used and it needs to be trained.”
Brisco is currently writing a book for farmers called ‘Tools for the Top Paddock’ and works closely with rural wellbeing program Farmstrong to promote its resources and ideas.
Aligning with Farmstrong was “a natural thing” for Brisco as they both had the same values.
“It was a natural partnership that we’d end up working together. It’s been awesome to help promote their messages over the last couple of years.”