In common with so many other humans, I have made a New Year’s resolution to lose weight and improve my fitness. Do you have any advice for me?
The Flock has selected OBERON to answer this question. Oberon is fit and strong, and intends to stay that way!
Dear Body Beautiful
I am glad to hear that you want to look after yourself better. It’s very important that you do this, especially at this time of year, when the worst of the winter weather is to come and you’ll need to be in tip-top condition to get through to spring.
First of all, you need to look at your diet. This is of vital importance to you if you’re going to become fitter. It’s important to note that, at this time of year, the grass doesn’t have very much nutrition in it, and so you’ll be relying much more on supplementary feed and, crucially, hay. Make sure that you buy good, leafy hay – if it is green, it’ll be more nutritious, but if it’s yellow or brown, it’ll be less so. You will need 2.5% of your bodyweight in hay every day, so for me, as a 90kg sheep, that is 2.25kg. Humans come in the same sort of weight range as sheep, so I should think you would be needing to eat the same amount, or a little less. Make sure that you don’t overdo it on the cereal feeds, though. These are delicious and we all love them, but they are very fattening and, if you need to lose some weight, you probably want to keep those to a minimum. You could try some soaked sugar beet pellets if you want a treat. And carrots. Make sure that you chew the cud thoroughly too. I have never seen a human chewing the cud (presumably you do that in your houses?) and it worries me a bit that you might not be on a regular cud-chewing schedule. You need to have two definite periods of cudding every day, and you should make sure you are sitting down and relaxing whilst you’re doing it. You don’t want to get acidosis of the rumen.
Hydration is most important too, especially if you are eating lots of hay. It’s quite dry, so make sure you keep drinking! Our humans make us hay tea if we’re a bit under the weather, and I think you ought to replace that revolting coffee stuff you drink with this delicious beverage. But to be honest, water is best. Try not to drink out of puddles, though – they may taste nice, but the water’s not as fresh.
On to the topic of exercise now. We sheep keep quite fit just wandering around the field, and here I think, Body Beautiful, that you humans are definitely very lax in your habits. Sitting around in a house as you do, you can’t possibly get enough exercise. Our humans do quite a bit of physical exertion looking after us in the winter (hay is heavy, and has to be carried a long way!) and I think that sort of work is the best. Be careful when you are walking through the mud, though, you don’t want to sprain any joints. Fetlock joints are the most prone to this injury. You might want to get together with your friends every now and then, and have a good old run around. This is a fun way of getting a bit fitter! I doubt, though, that human skulls could withstand the sort of play fights we do, so perhaps don’t try bashing heads with one another too much.
Try not to lose too much weight during the winter – you want to be going into spring with a reasonable amount of condition, although once the spring grass comes in, you’ll certainly pack on the pounds very quickly.
Good luck, Body Beautiful! Being fit and healthy has many advantages, including having much better wool (very important for us in our flock) and living for a longer time. I hope you manage to get into shape, and stay that way!