Why Fitness is Important for Horse Riders
Read on to find out why you should be working out as a horse rider and what exercise you should be doing
Any equestrian will tell you that riding on a horse is more than just sitting there and the horse doing all the work. When it comes to training, racing, or riding for extended periods, fitness comes into play in a significant way.
While there are many exercises and workouts, many people are put off the idea because getting fit is challenging. However, fitness can be fun, and these exercises will not only make you healthier but make you a better rider too.
Why You Need to be Fit
Being fit and healthy in general can only be beneficial to all of us. Fitness will help you live longer, fight off sickness better, and just generally make you and your body feel better on a day-to-day basis.
When it comes to horse riding, you need to be fit and strong for the same reasons other athletes need to be. Controlling a horse requires more than just moving the reins; riding a horse is tough on the legs and lower body.
Cardiovascular strength is also needed as nothing will tire your muscles quicker than a weak cardiovascular system. This will also allow you to spend more time on the horse without your body giving out.
Horse Riding Exercises
This list will go through some of the exercises you should be doing to improve your strength and endurance while in the saddle.
One area you should be focussing on is your legs. You use them constantly while riding, as they keep you on the horse and control the animal. There are a few exercises you should add to your workout regimen.
Squats are one of the most famous leg exercises out there. They are easy to perform, as the only actual technique is keeping your back as straight as possible. Squats work almost the entire leg, with noticeable strength improvements after a couple of weeks.
Glute bridges are an exercise that strengthens your hamstrings, glutes, and lower back. This exercise also works your abs, and the movement engages smaller muscles that enhance and improve your stability.
Core exercises help strengthen your ab and lower back muscles, both being essential for horse riding. Planks are one of the most common ab exercises and engage the most ab and lower back muscles at one time.
The superman exercise is another one that can be used to strengthen your lower back and spine. Lying on your stomach, flex, straighten and lift your right leg and left arm, hold for as long as you can, and then repeat with your right arm and left leg.
The push-up is one of the most common and effective upper body exercises you can do, especially if you are looking to do quick workouts and aren’t too fussed about hitting up the gym.
They can be performed against walls, chairs, and on the ground. The higher your hands are on, the more manageable the exercise is; therefore, your progress and strength gains can be measured.
More advanced upper body and arm exercises can involve dumbbells if you have them to hand or even pull-ups if you are strong enough to perform them. Just ensure you are always pushing yourself and constantly exercising every part of your body.
Cardio is a Must
Cardio is an aspect of working out that can never be ignored or forgotten about, and it is one of the essential parts of a workout routine. There is a reason everyone, from bodybuilders to basketball players, does cardio; it’s vital for everyone to do it.
Running is one of the most popular forms of cardio, with cycling also becoming more and more common as the years go by. Many experts have also been pushing for more people to take up skipping, as this is a cardio and arm workout in one.
Even if none of these things are for you, walking is an easy way of getting some cardio in, especially if you make a concerted effort to speed walk for some time and then walk slower, increasing your heart rate with each speed increase.
Stretching and Yoga
Stretching and yoga have both become more and more popular over the years. While that may sound obvious, stretching is often overlooked, its benefits are clear and long-lasting. Stretching helps to keep your muscles supple, protecting you from strains and injury.
Once again, if you are someone who spends a lot of time horse riding, you may not feel it immediately, but your muscles are constantly under stress and tension. Stretching stops this tension from turning into a strain or even a tear.
As mentioned initially, being strong and fit is not always associated with horse riding, yet it is almost essential if you are spending a lot of time riding. Simply doing the activity isn’t enough to keep your body in the shape it needs to be.
Even if you don’t do all these exercises or do your own, you should seriously focus on a workout and stretching routine of some kind. You will notice immediate improvements in your riding ability, as well as in your day-to-day life.