Heart-Pumping Riding: Fitness Insights

Chart courtesy of Hannah Fichter.

BY Hannah Fichter

Riding horses is a whole-body experience. The legs are engaged to keep you on the horse—arms, and seat to help communicate to your horse your next move. Your hands maintain connection. Your head and neck move to show your horse where you want to go. However, what you can’t see is working the hardest.

When riding, your lungs and heart work extra hard because riding horses is a workout. You are engaging in physical activity, and your heart and lungs must pump blood and oxygen to your muscles. Just like any workout an athlete does, your heart rate will increase. 

By collecting Apple Watch heart rate data from 12 individuals who recorded several rides, their heart rates increased while they were engaged in this workout. 

Chart courtesy of Hannah Fichter.

According to the American Heart Association, the target heart rate zone (50-85%) for those in their 20’s while exercising is between 100-170 bpm, and the average maximum heart rate for this age group is 200 bpm. Everyone in this study is between 14 and 29 years old.