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Farmer Safety Health and Wellness Webinar Series: Rena Buckley

Carbery Group, Cork recently held a Webinar on Farm Safety, Health and Wellness for farmer suppliers in advance of a busy spring. The Event will now be shown as a series of Webinars for 3 Sundays. The second is Rena Buckley, giving pointers on Gaining Health through, Exercise and Diet

Speakers included Steve Redmond, first person to complete the ‘Seven Ocean’s Challenge’; Rena Buckley, winner of a record 18 All Ireland Medals and John McNamara, Teagasc Health and Safety Specialist. Each Webinar takes 15 minutes approx.

Teagasc is indebted to Carbery Group for permission to use the Webinars.

Rena Buckley

Next up is Health Professional and Physiotherapist Rena Buckley giving pointers on Gaining Health through, Exercise and Diet 

Rena is no stranger to managing exercise and diet in a busy schedule a leading sports person and as a Chartered Physiotherapist in a busy farming area. Rena has first-hand knowledge of requirements for farmers to stay healthy including exercise and diet. She is also familiar with the common forms of musculoskeletal injuries suffered by farmers. 

Importance of Health

Rena explained that health leads to happier persons, improved relationships,  performing better at work, reduces time spent being sick, unwell or out of work. Health also increases network of friends and enjoyment of life.

However, a recent major Irish Farmer health study indicates that farmer generally have a poor health profile. The study found that 74% of male farmers have four, or more, risk factors for cardiovascular disease. This means they are three times more likely to have an acute cardiac event (stroke or heart attack) compared to those with fewer risk factors. 75% of all farmers participating in the research were advised to visit their GP to get further advice.  The study is available at https://www.teagasc.ie/publications/2020/farmers-have-hearts-cardiovascular-health-programme.php


Rena described three types of exercise required as follows:

  • Aerobic Exercise is especially required for the Cardiovascular System. Examples include - walking, running, cycling, swimming, dancing, 5- side soccer. 
  • Anaerobic Exercise: Required for Muscle and Bone Health and for Balance and Co-ordination. Examples include; resistance training- weighted or body weight, crossfit, hillwalking or gardening.
  • Flexibility Exercise: Required for muscle and bone joint range of movement. Examples include stretching and yoga.

Rena points out that modern living and technology advancement have reduced the time and intensity of peoples involved in exercise. This applies to farmers also.  Accordingly, planning your exercise routine is vital for health.


Rena points out that Nutrition contributes to Wellness and can prevent Diseases. ‘Every food or drink that you put into your mouth has the potential to improve or impair your health or it has a potential role in causation or prevention of disease’ she states.  Rena adds ‘modern living has increased intake of calories, including refined carbohydrates, reduced intake of fibre and it has resulted in the redistribution of fat intake within the body to undesirable areas’.   Rena then gives general principles associated with a healthy diet, and she points to further information sources  such as  the  HSE ‘Healthy Eating Guidelines’ or the USDA Website www.myplate.gov   

Musculoskeletal Disorders

During the Q&A session, Rena got many questions from farmers related to treatment of various musculoskeletal disorders. It was clear that these were causing many problems for farmers. This is backed up by   Irish research (e.g. Osborne et.al., 2010).


 Two messages are clear from the data available.

  • There is considerable scope for preventing musculoskeletal disorders by eliminating heavy lifting, pushing, pulling and especially twisting with a heavy load. Also, check a load before you lift and use safe lifting techniques.
  • Should you acquired a musculoskeletal disorders seek treatment from a physiotherapist at an early stage.

EU-OSHA ‘Healthy Workplaces ‘Lighten the Load’ Campaign 2020-2022

Currently the EU-OSHA ‘Healthy Workplaces ‘Lighten the Load’ Campaign 2020-2022 is in progress. Find out more at https://healthy-workplaces.eu/en  or @EU_OSHA

Contact Details: Rena’s twitter handle is @RenaBucks and Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/RenaBucks

Full Farmer Safety, Health & Wellness Webinar - 3 Part Series

Part 1: Steve Redmond, first person to complete the gruelling ‘Seven Ocean’s Challenge’.  Steve speaks firstly of what motivated him to take on the Challenge. He then outlines the leadership and organisational challenges need to support the Challenge. He then outlines what lessons there are for farmers in running their farming operations. Steve’s twitter handle is @iswimcoldwater  and facebook page is : https://www.facebook.com/SteveRedmondSwims

Part 2: Rena Buckley, winner of a record  18 All Ireland Senior Camogie and Football Medals, and Chartered Physiotherapist. Rena describes the exercise and diet required to prevent injury and stay healthy. She also describes the common forms of musculoskeletal injury that she see among farmers in her physiotherapy practice. Rena’s twitter handle is @Rena bucks and facebook is https://www.facebook.com/RenaBucks

Part 3: John McNamara, Teagasc Health and Safety Specialist, give up-to-date information on both farm injuries and ill health. He then goes on to describe motivational prevention strategies.  He points out that ‘total health model’ where both health and safety are promoted is the best approach for farming.  John publishes farmer health and safety in Teagasc magazines and on the Teagasc twitter include link and Facebook Include link pages.

See links below for more in Part 1 and Part 3 from Sunday 14th March and Sunday 28th March on #TeagascDaily