Long before automobiles were invented, horses were our best option for both long and short distance journeys. While they may not be our everyday transport anymore, let’s talk about the health and fitness benefits of horse riding in the modern era.
If you take a look back at some pages of human history, you’ll realize that our relationship with horses has changed significantly over time since the ancient era.
Now instead of messengers riding on horseback to relay messages to distant locations, technological advances in communication have largely eliminated the use of horses for messaging and indeed travel as a whole.
Today, horse-riding is more of a recreational activity than a means of transportation. This popular hobby also has some great benefits attached to it.
The Benefits of Horseback Riding
Like any other physical exercise, horse-riding can be challenging. But there are numerous health and fitness benefits for riders who persevere.
Aside from improving your physical fitness, horse-riding is also good for your mental health.
Here are some health and fitness benefits of horse riding:
· Improves Your Core Strength
Horse riding can be a great leisure activity and it’s also an isometric exercise. This means that it’s a routine that involves static positions where the angle of your joints and your muscle lengths don’t change.
Being on horseback, you’re kept in a position whereby you must use certain muscles including your thighs to stay balanced.
This improves your core strength. For instance, some disabled or injured people use horses for this same reason — improving their core strength.
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· Boosts Your Balance and Stability
Normally, the faster you ride a horse, the more difficult it is for you to maintain your balance. If you’re galloping or jumping, then the difficulty is even higher than when you are trotting.
In all these situations, the rider learns important coordination skills that will help them to keep their body in sync with the speed of the horse.
If you lack balance and proper coordination, there’s a good chance that your horse-riding experience will lead to a fall.
· Enhances Your Flexibility
If you have ever come across a bizarre scene where someone struggles just to mount a horse, try to hold yourself back from laughing.
Horse riding is easier said than done. So, don’t take it for granted.
Not just any unskilled person can just throw his legs up on a horse and set off for a ride. It takes years of training and determination to be a professional rider.
Horse riding can help you to improve the flexibility of your hips and other joints over time. The more you ride, the more flexible you become each day.
· Develops Your Posture
Though everyone has a posture, there are good and bad postures. The latter is what you don’t want to suffer from.
Posture is a broad term that talks about how you hold or position your body when doing certain things. For example, the way you walk, sit, and sleep, are all examples of postures.
For beginners, it’s normal to have a bad sitting posture on horseback.
While seated on the saddle, beginners are tempted to use their thighs to grip on firmly to the horse.
Other inexperienced riders may even press their feet so hard on the stirrup. Unfortunately, it turns out this bad posture can be uncomfortable for both the rider and the animal.
When you’re on horseback, it’s better to relax and straighten your back. As you take more rides, your overall posture can only get better with time.
· Mental health
Who would have thought that horse-riding can have a positive effect on your mental health?
Well, that’s quite surprising but it’s true.
Horses are not as stupid as you think; they’re intelligent creatures that can sometimes pick up on your emotions.
As far back as 600 years BC, the Greeks fully understood that horses had some therapeutic benefits in the minds of riders.
Even in today’s modern society, it’s believed that horse-riding relieves stress.
While scientists are yet to confirm the efficacy of equine (horse) therapy for depression and autism, many people believe that spending an hour or two on horseback can lower your stress levels.
· Muscle Tone
Horse riding is also beneficial to your muscle tone. It works out the muscles in your back, and pelvis as well as your inner thighs.
As you sit on the huge and powerful animal, you must adjust to its gait to maintain your balance.
The more you embark on horse riding, the more you’ll discover and exercise your muscles.
The health and fitness benefits of horse riding are limitless. Competitive horse riders don’t just do it for the money. They also do it to improve their cardiac health, muscle fitness, balance, and posture, and enhance their mental health among other benefits.
We can also talk about the social benefits horse riders gain from their amazing communities.
Have a great time boosting your health and fitness with horse riding, but take care not to fall and break a leg.