Senior Homesteading Health Benefits

| 2/16/2017 10:53:00 AM

Tags: life lessons, health benefits, outdoors, Bruce McElmurray, Colorado,

Hairy Woodpecker

Lasting Life Lesson

I learned a lesson at a young age that has carried throughout my life. That lesson was that being outdoors in fresh air and sunshine accompanied by physical activity is healthy living and can benefit a person over both the short and long run. As a child I always seemed to be coming down with some sickness or ailment but when I turned 12 years old things changed. Up until 12 years of age I spent far too much time indoors. I would play outdoors with neighborhood friends but when we got tired we would sit in the shade of a tree or on someone's porch and idle away the time. That all changed when I bought a rather large paper route from our local newspaper.

Delivering Newspapers

As a newspaper boy with around 125 customers I was thrust into another world. I would get up on Sunday before dawn and walk about 1/4 mile to get my newspapers at the drop point. I would then have to fold them and stuff them into carrying pouches with a shoulder straps where I could then carry them to my customers. Some days when the newspapers were thick I would have to make two or more trips to get my papers before I even started to deliver them. Week days I would have to go straight from school to my paper route.  

Inclement Weather

I soon found out that being a paperboy was very hard work and required commitment and stamina. It was also 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year in all kinds of weather. I was outside far more than usual and in all types of weather. It didn’t matter if I was sweating, cold, drenched in rain, blown by wind or walking through snow;  I was delivering newspapers in all kinds of weather. After about two years of delivering newspapers, collecting subscription fees, and riding my bicycle across town to turn in my collections I realized that I was not as sick as I was before I had my paper route. I was more muscular and healthy.

Healthy Lifestyle

Having had a newspaper route for 5 years kept me fit and more healthy.  It was an unforeseen benefit from being outside in all kinds of weather plus the exercise. This discovery has remained with me throughout my life. Even when I was office bound I made time to be outside as much as I could and supplemented being outside with physical exercise.  

Health Benefits Carry Over

Now in my senior years I still reap the benefits from being outdoors as much as possible and doing a lot of physical work. Homesteading in the mountains requires a lot of shoveling snow in the winter, cutting, splitting, stacking and hauling firewood (9-12 cords per year) and all the ancillary requirements to live as we do. I’m now in my mid-seventies and other than a few sore muscles on occasion I continue to amaze our doctor each year when I go in for a wellness checkup.

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