A SCOTS farming couple are helping to inspire farmers, crofters and agriculture workers about the benefits of keeping fit.
Jacalyn Dunlop and Grant Neilson are sharing their knowledge through a series of videos filmed for Scottish agricultural charity RSABI, to demonstrate the effects of exercise.
The pair from the south-west of Scotland now run their own fitness business G&J Coaching.
Jacalyn and Grant came first and third in their respective categories in the 2022 Britain’s Fittest Farmer competition, launched five years ago by Farmers Weekly to spark discussions about physical and mental health in farming.
Jacalyn now works full-time in the fitness business while Grant combines working on the family farm, Park Farm near East Kilbride, with fitness training.
The pair are delighted to be health and fitness ambassadors for RSABI and determined to help promote the benefits of regular exercise to people working in Scottish agriculture.
In the series of videos, they share their top tips, including how farmers can find time to keep fit and build looking after themselves into a non-negotiable part of their routines.
The mutual motivation and accountability they offered each other helped drive their fitness careers and has seen them both now become personal trainers.
Jacalyn and Grant discuss how staying active helps improve their mental wellbeing and promote routes to fitness that are relatable and accessible for those working in agriculture.
Entries are now open for the 2023 Britain’s Fittest Farmer competition, which aims to get farmers thinking and talking about their physical and mental health.
Farmers are invited to take part in one of three qualifiers throughout the UK including a new event for this year taking place at the Royal Highland Show on Sunday 25 June.
Jacalyn said: “We originally entered the fittest farmer competition on a bit of a whim and didn’t know what to expect from it as it was the first time either of us had entered.
“The community the event brings together is incredible with a big focus on the importance of promoting fitness in farming.
“The event really opens the floor to conversations around mental health.”
Before turning to fitness, Grant was struggling with his mental health after sustaining an injury playing rugby, leaving him unable to continue doing the sport he loved.
He started training in the gym and working out to fill the void and found it was a release.
Jacalyn added: “We’re passionate about encouraging more farmers to prioritise their fitness and help them understand the benefits they will get.
“Many farmers find themselves sitting in a cycle of eat, sleep, farm repeat but it’s so important to create a bit of space between you and the farm.
“I think when people start to look at the wider benefits of fitness, it becomes less of a chore and more of a choice which is when you can start to see the true value of it.”
“Go for a walk, run, cycle, do an online workout, use the space and resources around you to work fitness into your everyday life.
Carol McLaren, Chief Executive of RSABI, thanked Grant and Jacalyn, who are also planning a new fitness competition for young farmers, for the work they are doing.
McLaren said: “Jacalyn and Grant are truly inspirational and we hope that by sharing their tips and advice more and more farmers and crofters will become aware of the benefits of looking after themselves both physically and mentally.
“That could be just making time to go for a walk, or going all out to take part in a challenge such as Britain’s Fittest Farmer.
“The main thing is to do something you enjoy and to take that first step!”