The Fitness Benefits of Horseback Riding

 Photo by: Bigstockphoto

Photo by: Bigstockphoto

It doesn’t look like it, but horseback riding is one mean workout that tone the abs, glutes, and thighs. And the benefits of horseback riding goes beyond fitness. It promotes memory retention, improves cognitive functions, and alleviates stress. Curious about the health benefits of horseback riding? Continue reading below:

Improves Balance And Stability

From a casual observer’s perspective, riding a horse doesn’t look like hard work. But it actually is! Sitting on any unstable surface puts the body’s balance off. As such, the body is working extra hard to orient itself and adjusts quickly to prevent falling.

When you are riding a horse, the back of the horse is not balanced. And with every maneuver, the body learns quickly to adjust itself to maintain balance. Riding a horse requires transferring your weight to the right or left, depending on the maneuver to stay stable. Thus, horseback riding enhances stability and balance.

Enhances Coordination and Agility

It is shocking how hard horseback riding really is, especially for first-time riders! That’s because horseback riding activates various muscle groups simultaneously. When riding a horse, you need to coordinate leg pressure, rein pressure, and body positions all at once to stay upright. This alone enhances coordination, allowing you to react quickly to prevent an injury.

Horseback riding boosts agility too. When you become more aware of the movements needed to produce the desired result, the body will react accordingly. Riding a horse allows you to predict certain movements and your reflexes will react almost instantaneously.

Tones the Thighs

If you’ve always wanted to slim down and tone your thighs, you’d be surprised that horseback riding makes an excellent thigh workout! This sport will activate all the muscle groups in the thighs, specifically the adductors. To stay upright while riding a horse, you have to squeeze the adductors to stay in the saddle. You also need to activate your core and the lower back muscles to stay upright. Horseback riding also tones the quads, hamstrings, and glutes because they are supported by the adductors. Riding a horse involves moving the legs forward, backward, and laterally to cue the horse. The glutes flex as you roll your hips down and forward to cue the horse to stop. All these tones and strengthens the lower body.

However, do note that some thigh movements could cause unnecessary strain on the spine. To avoid lower back pain, you have to learn how to flex your muscles and avoid forcing your obliques and transverse abdominals to stiffen to stay upright. Doing so will pull the lower spine muscles, causing pressure.

Improves Flexibility

You simply cannot ride a horse if you are stiff as a board. It doesn’t look like it from afar but horseback riding works as an effective muscle workout. Toning and flexing large muscle groups to improve flexibility. As you ride a horse, your hips, adductors, or hamstrings are all working together to stabilize the body. Better flexibility means improved range of motion. When your muscles are flexible, you can perform amazing feats in sports and in real life.

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