A few hours of riding can leave your body feeling tired and sore. Don’t forget that you work just as hard as your horse! Whether you spent some time training or enjoying a gentle trot with your four-legged friend, you can use the following six ways to recover and relax when you finish.
1. Treat Yourself to a Warm Bath
A warm bath promotes circulation that delivers much-needed oxygen and nutrients to exhausted muscles. The warmth also gives a pleasant way to relax in isolation. Create a spa-like experience by turning off the lights, lighting some candles and turning on some music.
Very cold baths can also help by reducing inflammation in sore muscles. You probably won’t find the shock of a cold bath nearly as relaxing, though!
2. Reduce Muscle Fatigue With Gentle Yoga
Exercise plays an important role in becoming a better rider. The right type of exercise can also help you recover and relax.
Gentle yoga gives you time to stretch your muscles and improve mobility. It feels nice, and it will help you avoid injuries during future rides. Other benefits of gentle yoga include:
- Reducing stress.
- Teaching you to take deeper breaths.
- Improving your mood.
- Boosting your immune system.
- Correcting your posture.
You don’t need to spend money on an expensive studio to reap the benefits of gentle yoga. YouTube has plenty of yoga channels lead by experienced teachers. Yoga With Adriene stands out as the most popular option. Adriene has been releasing videos for years, so you have plenty of classes to choose from.
3. Have a Nutritious Snack
Reward yourself with a post-ride snack that tastes great and gives your body the nutrition it needs to thrive. Many nutritionists and trainers say that people should eat snacks about 30 to 45 minutes after exercise.
Some options to have on hand include:
- Apple slices with peanut butter.
- Trail mix or granola.
- Cheese and crackers.
- Yogurt with fruit.
- Veggies and hummus.
- Avocado toast.
- Peanut butter sandwich with banana slices.
Try to avoid overly processed foods. You want to fuel your body with whole, nutritious foods that deliver vitamins and minerals to your tired muscles.
4. Drink Plenty of Fluids
Ideally, you should replace fluids while you ride. Sipping 30 ounces of water will probably replace the moisture that you lose sweating during a two-hour ride. Unfortunately, it’s easy to forget about drinking water while riding your horse. You’re so focused on the training or taking in the scenery that you forget to stop for drinks.
Take some time after your ride to make sure you re-hydrate. Water is usually your best option. Take small sips over an hour to help your body absorb the moisture.
Don’t rely on sports drinks unless you have put every bit of energy into a long workout. Sports drinks are full of carbs and electrolytes that you probably don’t need.
5. Take a Rejuvenating Nap
Sleep gives your body and mind an opportunity to repair themselves and prepare for new challenges. While you sleep, your body synthesizes protein that helps your muscles recover. Your body will also release more human growth hormone that helps you heal. Sleep doesn’t cure everything, but it doesn’t remarkable things for the body.
How do you take a rejuvenating nap during the middle of the day? Find a quiet, dark room where you can lie down for at least 30 minutes. The best modular sofas have supportive cushions that will help you drift off. By avoiding your bed, you make it easier to limit your sleep to a half-hour nap instead of a two-hour snooze.
6. Plan to Get a Massage
If you know that you have a particularly difficult ride coming up, schedule a massage so you can relax and recover afterward. Massages have a long list of benefits for the body. Some benefits of massage include:
- Increasing joint flexibility and mobility.
- Reducing stress hormones that cause inflammation.
- Reducing muscle tension.
- Improving circulation throughout the body.
- Stimulating the lymphatic system that removes toxins and waste from your body.
You can choose from at least two types of massage. Sports massage focuses on working on the kinks in your joints and muscles. It’s a terrific way to recover from hours of exercise and avoid overuse injuries. Deep tissue massage offers many of the same benefits, but you get to enjoy a relaxed setting. Many massage therapists use aromatherapy and pleasant music to help their clients slip into a relaxed state.
Few things are as fun as spending time on your beloved horse. During some rides, you and your horse push yourselves to the maximum. You’ll both feel worn out after that much exercise. Still, you need to push through to get better at your sport.
You don’t have to suffer from stiff, sore muscles after your ride. Enjoy one of the above activities to avoid discomfort and prepare for your next ride.