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April 30, 2018

6 Ways Homesteading Keeps You Healthy



A homesteading lifestyle is a healthy lifestyle - no matter where you live.

Several of my friends have sadly realized that their parents and grandparents' health declined when they left the farm and moved into town.

No matter why they moved - to be closer to services, nearer to their children and grandchildren, or for some other reason - the difference was apparent in less than a year.

One such friend concluded that it was caused by eating more processed food. Once her mother moved to town, processed food was more convenient and easier to get (and the pizza delivery driver would finally come to mom's front door!), and she was no longer able to garden.

I think there's more to it than that, that there are additional underlying reasons. "Mom" is older and doesn't want to (or isn't able to stand long enough to) cook from scratch. Other people might do the grocery shopping for her and it's easier to pick up a boxed meal or frozen item. The parent or grandparent is usually alone by this time, and cooking for one is more bother than cooking for two or more. Someone else might even be doing the cooking for her, and unfortunately cooking from scratch is almost a lost art these days. Restaurants are more convenient. And we've all realized that convenience food and fast food are cheaper than good-for-you food.

A homesteading lifestyle is a healthy lifestyle, no matter where you live.

Mom might be less mobile by the time she moves to town as well, keeping her confined to the house. She no longer has a garden. As we get older, our world shrinks as our mobility decreases. Probably her health had already begun to decline before she moved.

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Let's turn the whole scenario around: rather than looking at how some peoples' health declines when they move to town, let's consider what makes homesteading a healthy lifestyle - whether you live way out in the country or in town, because homesteading is an attitude more than anything.

Eat what you grow

If you're a vegetable gardener you eat what you grow. I mean, who would grow tomatoes and not eat them, right? And you're eating them fresh, right out of the garden when they're in season. All season long. And then canning them so you can eat them for the rest of the year (if you grew and canned enough of them!). Those lovely Mason jars on your shelves don't contain preservatives or chemicals.

Exercise

Exercise is a major part of a healthy lifestyle. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) over 70% of adults 20 and older in the U.S. are overweight. Our children aren't faring any better: over 20% of adolescents age 12-19 are overweight. Keeping active helps us keep off those extra pounds. (Although, ahem, I'm struggling to lose a few stubborn pounds myself.)

How do we keep active on the homestead? Gardening, outdoor projects, regular homestead chores and more.

Morning and afternoon chores at my homestead involve walking, lifting and carrying buckets of water and bales of hay, and moving 50 pound bags of feed.

Mowing our large yard keeps my step-count up. (Does anyone else have a Fitbit? (affiliate link) I'm continually amazed at how many steps I take each day in the normal course of my homesteading chores, especially in the spring.)

Bending and stooping while gardening are great exercise. Turning the compost pile is a real workout; I really sweat off the pounds! (Well, maybe not. According to Dr Mercola, "Sweating doesn't burn fat; it helps regulate your body temperature. If high-intensity exercise causes you to sweat, you may be burning significant calories.")

Gardening is a healthy lifestyle, no matter where you live!

Sweat

Speaking of sweat - sweating is healthy. Your skin is your body's largest organ. As well as regulating your body temperature, sweating also helps your body eliminate toxins, which in turn allows your immune system to function properly and prevent diseases. Homesteading projects offer plenty of opportunities to sweat! (Don't forget to drink fluids after exercising or working to replace what your body has lost.)

The ingredients in antiperspirants are questionable at best. You can read more about this in The Dangers that Lurk in Our Bathrooms, then take a good look at the products you're using. By the way, magnesium oil will immediately banish that nasty sweat odor. I use this brand (affiliate link); if it's out of stock, order another brand - it really works!


Fresh air

Our homes and offices are full of stale air. Getting outside in the fresh air can increase your energy, reduce stress, improve digestion, invigorate your immune system, and even make you happier. Homesteaders don't have to look hard for a reason to go outside.


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Sunshine

Sunlight triggers your body to produce vitamin D. A vitamin D deficiency can cause fatigue, depression, sleeping disorders, heart disease, dementia, and even some cancers.

Homesteaders spend plenty of time outdoors, whether it's in the garden, tending to animals or working on outdoor projects. I wonder if it's possible to produce too much vitamin D?

Just be careful to protect your skin from too much sun, which can cause skin cancer. Wear a wide-brimmed hat, long sleeves, and try to avoid the sun during the hottest part of the day. 

Mental health

When I finished mowing the north half of the front yard this week, hubby had stopped what he was working on and was sitting in the sunshine. "Listen," he said. I did, but all I could hear were the birds singing. "That's what I mean," he smiled, "all I can hear are the birds singing and your bees buzzing."

Our mental health is a big deal, folks. We are made to smile, to laugh, to enjoy God's creation no matter where we live and what our circumstances are. Spotting a hummingbird, watching birds at the feeders, smelling the roses or a tree full of apple blossoms, listening to frogs singing after a rainstorm or the evening call of the whippoorwill in summer, laughing at the hens' antics... or discovering a tiny flower growing up through a crack in the pavement... these are all good for our mental well-being.


I don't think that living in town is less healthy, but I do think that we need to pay attention to these six factors of good health no matter where we live. Get enough fresh air and sunshine, exercise regularly, don't be afraid to sweat, and eat a well-balanced and healthy diet. And smile. Be sure to smile, no matter where you live!


RELATED POSTS:
Aging Gracefully
Start Homesteading Now, No Matter Where You Live
5 Homestead Skills You Need


A homesteading lifestyle is a healthy lifestyle, no matter where you live.


~~~~~

My hope is to inspire you, and to encourage your homesteading plans and your dreams of a simple, self-reliant, God-dependent life. You can follow me at:
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12 comments:

  1. Sharon7:34 AM

    Purchased 10 acres & will be planting a garden soon! (Still some snow here).

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    1. Wonderful, Sharon! I know you'll love living in the country.

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  2. Very true. I'd rather exercise this way anyday than inside

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    1. It's a lot more fun, for sure!

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  3. Great post I enjoyed reading it. You brought to mind some great things
    I haven't thought of. I love working in my garden. I only hope I get enough tomatoes to can! Thanks for sharing this.

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    1. I hope you'll have an abundance of tomatoes this summer. :-)

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  4. Found this on the hop and really enjoyed it. It is also great food for thought about aging and attempting to stay healthy by homesteading. Thanks for sharing!

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  5. Hi Leilani, I'm glad you stopped in for a visit - hope you come back again! As we get older we inevitably start wondering how we're going to adapt; I'm glad this post made you think.

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  6. So true, Kathi...I read a book about kids growing up with nature deficit disorder and I'm so happy that I was able to raise my son with regular doses of nature. It can affect us at any age. Thanks for sharing on the hop!

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    1. Lisa, I haven't heard it referred to in that way before, but I like the term "nature deficient disorder." It's very prevalent nowadays, I'm afraid. Learning about nature is so important to me, and I too made sure my children were exposed to it - probably more than they wanted to be!

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  7. This is a seriously thought-provoking post, Kathi! Being active and eating the right foods is so crucial for well being throughout our lives, and it sure is much easier to do that on a homestead than in the city. Thank you so much for sharing and for being a part of the Hearth and Soul Link Party. Have a wonderful week and I hope to see you at the party later!

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    Replies
    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it, April. These things are SO important!

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