Downs_WillardMISSOURI – Arthritis is a common joint ailment that affects the performance of working age adults. Willard Downs is a Professor and an Extension Specialist in the Division of Food Systems and Bioengineering at the University of Missouri. Downs explains why farmers and ranchers are more susceptible to the affects of arthritis. He also mentions several small things that can improve on-the-job symptoms, such as using good posture. Downs talks about good mechanics when picking up hay bales.

Stand so that your ears are directly over your shoulders, keep your shoulders in line with your hips, maintain straight legs but don’t lock your knees, and place your feet shoulder width apart, keeping your weight evenly distributed to each leg.

Downs suggests the following tips: Break up heavy loads into smaller, more manageable sized loads; learn and practice good body mechanics when lifting to spread the weight to multiple joints instead of one concentrated area; and avoid remaining in the same position for prolonged periods of time.

Follow this link to learn more about AgrAbility through the University of Missouri. According to MU, “AgrAbility links the Extension service at a land-grant university with a nonprofit disability service organization to provide practical education and direct assistance that promotes rural independence. Our staff offers practical solutions to individuals who work on small or large operations as well as services to hobby, part-time, farm workers, or seasonal operators. The National Institute of Food and Agriculture, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, administers the AgrAbility Project.”