6 Ways Homesteading Keeps You Healthy

A man planting seeds in a garden

Homesteading is a challenging way of life, full of hard work and long hours. But it's also a healthy lifestyle, with much time spend outdoors and food cooked from scratch. Find out six ways that homesteading can keep you and your loved ones healthy.

Six ways homesteading can keep you healthy

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!), plus she was no longer physically 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 a frozen item.

The parent or grandparent is often widowed 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 simply cheaper and easier than good-for-you food.

An older woman's hand holding feed for a white chicken.
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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Homestead skills can keep you healthy no matter where you live

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, you can use these habits and skills to stay healthy, 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 you can the tomatoes so you can eat them for the rest of the year. Those lovely Mason jars of tomatoes on your shelves don't contain preservatives or chemicals.


Exercise is a major part of a healthy lifestyle. 

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, over 70% of adults 20 and older in the U.S. are overweight [source]. Our children aren't faring any better: over 20% of children and adolescents are overweight [source].

Keeping active helps us keep off those extra pounds. 

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

Morning and afternoon chores include walking, lifting and carrying buckets of water and bales of hay, and moving 50 pound bags of feed.

Mowing our large yard keeps me very active.

Bending and stooping while gardening are great exercise. Turning the compost pile is a real workout; you can really sweat off the pounds!

Can these chores be done in town? Of course they can. Take a daily walk around the neighborhood or a nearby park. If nothing else, park farther from your destination and walk across the parking lot.

Gardening is wonderful exercise whether your garden is in the country or in town.

A man's hand holding a green hose, watering his garden.


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 - no matter how small your homestead is - offer plenty of opportunities to sweat! (Don't forget to drink fluids after exercising or working to replace what your body has lost.)

By the way, 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. 

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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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. 

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. 

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.

Make an effort to stay healthy

I don't think that living in town is less healthy, but I do think that we need to pay attention to these 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!

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


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