Exercise to Relieve the Stress of the Season

by Lori Keppler, Iowa LICA Executive Director

It’s that time of year again. Many people go from having the Winter Blahs only to suffer from Spring Fever,  and when that fever breaks; they run right into Seasonal Stress.

It’s rained for three days straight, you’re already two weeks behind schedule, the dozer broke down, you can’t get supplies, and your employee wants to take a week off. You know the drill. How do you deal with it all?

I’ve read that exercise is a great way to relieve stress. A couple miles on the treadmill, a few flights on the stair master, that should help right? It is obvious that the people writing this advice have never worked an hour, let alone a day, in the life of an Iowa LICA contractor. Here is what I know.

First let me say that weeds are much taller than they look driving by in the truck on the road. People with short legs are in a heap of trouble trying to walk through a “grass” waterway. That is not grass.

The setting on the treadmill for elevation doesn’t mean anything compared to the grade of some of the ground covered in a day. I’m not sure what grade means, other than I have to work that much harder to climb it OR it is that much easier to fall down it.

Who needs hand or ankle weights? The dirt and clay stuck to the bottom of your boots should be good for burning MANY extra calories, not to mention building muscle in your calves and thighs.

Let’s not forget about your core,  try lifting seed bags (again for short people it is at least shoulder high) to pour it into the planter. Ever hear of toe touches, these are the mother of them all. Bend over, open the bag, lift bag, empty bag, repeat.

Let’s talk reps and circuit training. How big is your planter? Too big if you ask the person filling it bag by bag.

If I haven’t gotten physical enough for you then let’s talk about wrestling drainage tile. I seriously think the WWF should come to work in a tile ditch for a little bit. Don’t forget to tuck and roll or you’ll be smacked in the face unexpectedly only to knock you on your butt.

All of this doesn’t take the your steps into consideration. How many miles does an Iowa LICA contractor put on in a day? Way more than someone behind a desk, that’s for sure.

Wait, we haven’t talked about your arm muscles. That’s where running a shovel comes in. After watching experts properly run a shovel, I believe every high school in America should have a day that teaches every man, woman and child how to do this. It is not nearly as easy as some make it look. Whether is it digging a hole or cleaning out tracks, there is an art to it. In fact, it is so beautiful, I like to just stand there and watch how good some people are at it.

I now understand completely why the calorie intake needs to be way more considering the energy exuded in an average day. No wonder the back seat of pickup trucks are full of Mountain Dew cans, Casey’s Pizza cardboard triangles and bakery sacks. If it wasn’t for that, you’d waste away to nothing!

My solution to stress management for the season is to enjoy every minute of it and invest in every machine possible to make it easier!  End each day with the ones you love and maybe a cold refreshing beverage or bowl of ice cream.

Living the dream, no matter how crazy the dream seems to some. Have a safe and productive season.