I have the pleasure of working with numerous “cowboy” (and cowgirl) clients as a chiropractic physician, and have found them to be some of the healthiest and fittest folks I see. Their lifestyle includes movement throughout the day, very little sitting and fresh air and sunshine, which are all critical for health.
Recently, I asked a rancher how the yoga classes he was taking were going, and he said his work stopped him from making the class, but he was getting a great stretch and strengthen session on the miles of old barbed wire fence he was repairing. He was bending from the hips, squatting, or holding the lunge positions we had talked about (these protect and strengthen the back) as he reached to tie wire to post in the desert scrub. Plus, the cactus, catclaw and the possibility of snakes all worked to keep him “mindful” and in the present moment!
Another rancher spoke about the satisfaction his work gives him. “It’s hard to get bored when you are jack-of-all-trades, and you get to see the results of your work.” You know how good it feels to mow the yard when the grass is high, or when you repaint a dull, flaking wall – these changes you notice and it feels good, and feeling good is good for you! So imagine the reward these guys can get as well-diggers and welders, road engineers and self-made veterinarians, hydraulic experts and horse (and helicopter) pros.
Still another cowboy shared that many times when alone in nature, he’s experienced a deep sense of wonder and connection to the world. One day he spoke poetically about the gift of having seen rare wildlife over the years including mountain lions, coati-mundi, Gila monsters, and one of his favorites, “a huge desert tortoise chomping on a ripe prickly-pear tuna, the red juice dripping from his jaws.”
We are all “cowboys” of sort, and a self-sufficient lifestyle is our history, and not that many decades back. So now we’re wrangling groceries from car to kitchen, dragging hose from trees to roses, and bending, reaching and lifting for the socks we pickup or the seeds we plant, and all the other chores and maintenance tasks our lives demand. We are engineering solutions to household problems and having times of peace and ease in the garden.
In this column I will share simple, logical, fun and free steps to take greater control of your health and happiness. High tech medical science continues to prove a low tech lifestyle is the healthiest. Saddle Up!