Uh oh, the dreaded cardio workout … Leah Hinnefield of The Athletic Rider outlines why cardiorespiratory training is crucial for riders.
Should riders include cardiorespiratory training in their rider fitness program design?
Not only is cardiorespiratory training necessary for basic health and wellness (whether your goals is weight loss or weight gain,) but it will also contribute to overall improved sports performance. Cardio-training is also essential to reduce fatigue while participating in any athletic activity. So your performance and your basic safety depend on it — especially when your athletic activity includes climbing on top of a one- to two-thousand pound animal!
Incorporating running, biking, swimming or walking (note: not moseying) will also decrease mental anxiety — and that is a GREAT thing when you are pushing yourself to the limits in your riding arena or in the show arena. (Or when simply working with your basic punk named Hugo — I really do love him so!)
I know that after I run, I think more clearly and I am more level-headed. I am just a nicer person to be around! I am also less stressed when one of my punks …. er, I mean geldings … decides to challenge my leadership during our time together. I remain focused, firm and fair.
How much time should you invest on the road, on the trail or in the pool?
Recommendations for general health are 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of high-intensity cardio training per week.
So the next time you want to skip your morning run, remember that your horse will absolutely appreciate your investment in your cardiorespiratory training.
Would you like some support if you are new to cardio training? Join the Athletic Rider Fit Club! It is always free (though we do offer some inexpensive alternatives for those wanting a little more fitness direction) and each month we go miles for money for charity!
Leah Hinnefeld is a lifelong equestrian who spent over a decade studying hoof health and metabolism in horses before turning her attention to rider fitness. Leah is a personal trainer certified by the National Academy of Sports Fitness and offers Virtual Fitness Training for riders and horse lovers. You can learn more about how to get fit to ride at http://theathleticrider.