top of page
  • Writer's pictureJannalee Edgar

Harvest Health: A Physiotherapist's Guide to Thriving in Saskatchewan's Busy Season

As the autumn breeze sweeps across the Saskatchewan prairies, farmers of all gear up for one of the most pivotal and physically demanding seasons - harvest time! Harvest season is not just about reaping the rewards of a year's hard work; it's also a period of intense physical labor that can take a toll on a farmer's body. In this blog post, we will explore Saskatchewan Harvest Health from a physiotherapist's perspective, offering tips and insights on how to protect your body from the rigors of this demanding season, whether you're sitting on the combine, shoveling grain, reveling in the garden harvest, or engaging in pickling and canning in Saskatchewan.

Preparation Matters

Before the harvest season kicks into high gear, it's essential to prepare your body. Farmers often underestimate the physical demands of harvest, leading to injuries. Start with a pre-season exercise regimen that includes stretching, strengthening, and cardiovascular conditioning. This will help improve your endurance and reduce the risk of muscle strains and joint injuries.

A combine in harvest season

Combine Comfort

Sitting for long hours in the combine might seem less physically demanding than other farm chores, but it can still wreak havoc on your body. Ensure your

combine's seat and controls are adjusted ergonomically to reduce strain on your back, neck, and limbs. Take short breaks to stand, stretch, and walk around to prevent stiffness.

Shoveling Grain

Shoveling grain is a strenuous task that demands a lot from your back, shoulders, and legs. To avoid injury, use proper shoveling techniques. Bend your knees, engage your core, and lift with your legs, not your back. Use a shovel with an appropriate length handle to reduce strain. Take breaks and stay hydrated during this physically demanding task.

Garden Cleanup

After the combine work is done, it's time to tend to the garden. Gar

den cleanup involves bending, squatting, and lifting, which can strain your back, knees, and shoulders. To avoid injury, break your tasks into manageable chunks, and use gardening tools that are ergonomically designed. Maintain good posture and don't overexert yourself. Additionally, remember to harvest your garden bounty in stages to avoid overwhelming yourself.

Pickling and Canning Ergonomics

When engaging in pickling and canning, it's crucial to pay attention to ergonomics. Ensure your work surfaces are at the right height to prevent straining your back and neck.

Pickles in cans

Use comfortable, non-slip footwear to maintain stability during long hours of standing. Organize your workspace efficiently to minimize unnecessary movements. Remember to take short breaks to stretch your hands and wrists, as these activities can be repetitive and may lead to discomfort.

Listen to Your Body

One of the most important pieces of advice is to listen to your body. If yo

u experience pain, discomfort, or fatigue, don't ignore it. These are warning signs that something may be wrong. Rest, ice sore muscles, and seek medical advice if necessary.

After the dust has settled and the crops are safely stored or preserved, it's crucial to prioritize post-harvest recovery. Schedule a physiotherapy session to address any lingering aches and pains. This will help you maintain your physical health and prepare for the upcoming planting season.

Harvest season is undoubtedly a physically demanding time for farmers in Saskatchewan. From the long hours in the combine to shoveling grain, garden cleanup, and the intricacies of pickling and canning, it puts immense strain on the body. However, with proper preparation, ergonomics, and self-care, you can minimize the risk of injuries and ensure that you not only survive but thrive during this crucial time of the year. Remember, your health is an invaluable asset, and taking care of it should be a top priority for every farmer.

bottom of page