As equestrians, we already spend plenty of time at the barn with our four-legged pals, but here’s some more justification — six reasons why riding is a fantastic way to exercise.
By Crystal Wilson
When it comes to getting great exercise, many people believe they have to get to the gym or take a fitness class. However, horseback riding provides a fun and exciting way to get all the benefits of a great workout.
Riding is a fantastic physical exercise that puts you out in the open and allows you to spend time with the animal. It helps strengthen core muscles, reduce stress, improve blood circulation and heart health, and work a variety of muscles. Riding a horse presents an effective and fun way to exercise.
An effective exercise plan should incorporate various training regimens like balance training, strength training, core exercises, and aerobic fitness. Also, a practical plan should be something you are willing to keep up with. Riding is a terrific exercise that fits all into all of these categories. It comes with a variety of benefits that will leave you wanting more. Above all, it’s fun.
As equestrians, we already love horses, so even though that’s incentive enough to spend plenty of time at the barn, here’s some more justification — six reasons why riding is a fantastic way to exercise:
1. It Engages the Leg Muscles
Leg muscles are engaged when one is riding via isometrics, meaning the muscles are worked due to the contractions that come from riding. In riding a horse, your leg muscles support your body weight with stirrups. Riding vigorously engages the glutes and inner thighs. The movement of a horse encourages the rider to carry their body weight when they balance on the horse’s back. They engage the inner thighs when they transfer pressure to the horse to balance or boost their speed.
2. It Reduces Stress
Great exercise is not solely about building muscles and shedding fat. It also should benefit mental health as well, which is where horseback riding comes in. Riding a horse develops problem-solving skills, concentration and reduces stress. As the horse moves, it can bring about a massaging effect that will increase blood circulation and foster relaxation. The time spent with the animal outdoors can also induce a serotonin rush – the feel-good hormone that brings down stress levels.
According to some studies, simply spending time with a horse, like caring for an animal, can significantly reduce stress. However, we all know that sometimes a bad ride can bring on the stress we are trying to avoid. For that, riders can consider using CBD Vape Juice to calm their nerves.
3. Your Problem-Solving Skill Improves
To ride well, one needs to focus and stay alert. Thus, riding improves one’s ability to concentrate and problem solve. Horses constantly are asking questions and exploring their boundaries (some more than others). As a solid rider, you need to be able to think through what each horse needs and how to provide them with clear answers that will move their training forward. So flexibility and problem solving is necessary.
4. Strengthens the Heart
Horseback riding provides an excellent cardiovascular workout. Cardiovascular exercise is necessary to help improve circulation and get nutrients moving throughout the body. This fights diseases, keeps the you in shape, and stabilizes body temperature. Cardiovascular fitness only comes when a physical workout can be sustained, increasing the heart and breathing rates. Riding makes this possible.
5. It Improves Coordination
Those who don’t ride always assume those of us who do are just sitting on the horse while the horse does all the work. Hah! The coordination required to balance, add more leg, use your outside rein, etc. is mind-blowing… especially for those who do it without thinking about it. Riding experts have compared riding a horse to someone trying to rob the belly, skip, and rub the back simultaneously, which seems impossible.
6. Riding Improves Posture
Many first-time riders assume the wrong position on a horse. By instinct or fear, they will naturally grip the horse firmly and push their feet on the stirrup. With this position, the rider will lean forward excessively in fear of the animal’s next move.
This posture tenses the rider and makes the animal uncomfortable as well. However, those of us who have been riding for longer know that how important our posture is. Fortunately, this training can carry over into every-day life (or so we tell ourselves). The back will straighten, the arms will fall lower, and the overall posture will improve. The more you dedicate time riding, the more the posture will improve.
Riding is an excellent way to get more exercise. It is fun, it’s relaxing and the rewards are nearly limitless.