If you’re looking to get fitter in 2016 here at Bridleway we don’t think there’s any better hobby to improve fitness than horse riding. Not that you’ll need a reason to hop in the saddle in the New Year, but from strengthening your muscles to keeping your heart healthy and lowering stress levels, horse riding really is great for mind, body and soul. Here are just some of the benefits you can enjoy as a horse rider:
A study by the British Horse Foundation (BHF) and Bournemouth University has reported that horse riding and taking part in associated activities, such as mucking out, use up enough energy to be officially classed as moderate intensity exercise.
So there’s no need to join the crowds at the gym in January if you’re looking to improve your fitness. As a rider, simply increasing the amount or intensity of riding you do and adding a few extra chores to your list around the yard can make a big difference. Did you know that just an hour of horse riding can burn up to 650 calories*?
You might take it for granted that you can remain balanced in the saddle, but this engages and strengthens all your core muscles. The faster you ride the more balance is required and the more you will rely on your core strength to stay in position. The inner thigh and pelvic muscles are also working hard every time you ride out, but don’t forget the shoulders and arms, they are focusing on telling the horse what to do and remain engaged for the entire ride – giving you an almost total body workout!
Keep your heart healthy
As well as toning your muscles, riding improves aerobic fitness too. This does depend on the type of riding you prefer – a slow canter that doesn’t put you out of breath won’t be improving your heart’s health. However, increase the speed and agility involved and you’ll be working all those important muscles and your heart too.
Relax your mind
Horse riding, or even just spending time around your horse, is a great way to de-stress. Petting an animal can actually bring down blood pressure, relaxing the body and mind, so what better excuse do you need to give your horse more affection than usual? For many people, simply being outdoors and feeling close to nature can also add to a happy and relaxed mood.