Seems like some folks are just more plugged in than others when it comes to issues of personal health. That’s the case with Phillips County, Kansas farmer Doug Zillinger, who recently drove more than three hours to Kansas State University to take part in a research study. The study’s designed to measure heart rates during typical farm chores.
The results will help make specific guidelines for prepare farmers and ranchers for a safe return to their physically demanding work after cardiac rehab.
During the 30-minute test, Zillinger loaded 10 square bales onto a flatbed truck, dug post holes by hand, filled eight hopper boxes (meant to simulate loading a planter) with 50-pound bags of seed — twice — and shoveled 100 pounds of feed into a wheelbarrow during a three minute period.
Before, during and after the study, researchers from the Baylor Heart and Vascular Hospital in Dallas and Texas Woman’s University in Denton recorded specific data on Zillinger’s physical condition. Throughout these chores, Zillinger was outfitted with a portable oxygen consumption mask and a pack strapped to his back.
In addition to recording how hard he worked and how fast his ticker beat, the team also measured energy expenditure to measure workload limits in farm chores.
The rehab guidelines that result from all this will be published in a scientific/clinical journal so cardiac rehab health care pros will have reference criteria when working with farmers and ranchers.
Zillinger said the tests were just like chores on the farm and he especially appreciated the helpful hints supplied when he was done. As chair of his farm organization’s agriculture education committee, he hopes to help other farmers and ranchers become aware of this life-saving study.
“Any thing I can do to help those in our industry — that’s why I’m here,” he said.