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Maintaining the momentum

CHERYL TEVIS Updated: 08/08/2011 @ 8:57am Cheryl has been an editor at Successful Farming since 1979.

Peer support is a powerful influence, especially when it comes to health. Studies show that maintaining motivation and consistency is easier if your buddies also value healthy activities and lifestyles.

Jim Cooper, Bryan Kroeker, and Jeff Wallin all farm in western Nebraska, but that’s not all they have in common.

They’re also runners. Cooper and Kroeker farm near Grant; Wallin farms in nearby Imperial. The three don’t work out together, but they often see each other at local running events.

“It’s a huge advantage to have a training partner,” says Jonathan Beverly, an Imperial, Nebraska, runner and editor of Running Times. “It helps immensely to have somebody who shares your interest and who can encourage you.”

Beverly has been running for 30 years and is well known at marathon events. He met Cooper while teaching a running class that Cooper attended. Beverly also helps to coach local high school cross country and track teams.

Beverly knows that running isn’t for everyone. “But running as an exercise for a farmer makes a lot of sense,” he says. “Every Labor Day my community has an auction and there are 20 types of exercise equipment for sale that people bought, and never used. If you run, you don’t need equipment or an expensive gym membership to get a good workout.”

Where does a farmer find an exercise buddy? Beverly says you don’t have to look too far. “For the past 33 years, Chase County Fair has sponsored a 5K, 10K, and 1-mile run,” he says. “Grant has had a Fourth of July run for eight years. Almost any community in the U.S. today sponsors a fun run, and you’ll see people you know who participate and would welcome a training partner. Training for one of these runs gives you a reason to get started exercising and an end goal.”

Motivation is key

Wallin began running several years ago to stay in shape. During hectic planting and harvest seasons, he often can run only later at night.

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