Diet and weight loss are said to be the most common topic of discussion in the public today, even more than politics.
To lose weight or at least maintain a healthy size, it is generally recommended to eat less food, consume the correct nutrients and exercise
Of all the methods of exercising, one of the most obvious is generally not even mentioned: horseback riding. It offers not only exercise, but additional mental, physical and therapeutic benefits not available in other diet programs.
“Horseback riding is an excellent form of exercise which allows you the opportunity to build strength as well as improve your overall cardiovascular health through aerobic exercise,” emphasizes Sue Davis, medical researcher and horseback rider from LaCrosse, Wisconsin.
“This isn’t just about sitting on a horse,” Davis continues. “When you ride a horse, you are actually learning how to move your body with the horse and gain balance, which helps with your overall form and equitation.
“It doesn’t just help you to burn body fat, like most exercise, it helps prevent the likelihood of developing weight-related illnesses such as heart disease and colon cancer,” Davis adds.
However, one must remember, horse riding may not be the fastest way to burn calories and lose pounds.
In terms of energy expenditure, about 15 minutes of horse riding burns about 75 calories. Over 12 months, this daily horse ride uses up a total of 27,375 calories per year: the equivalent of 7.8 pounds of body weight.
“However, for effective weight reduction, fitness consultants recommend that the best type of fitness plan is the one that most suits your individual lifestyle, not necessarily the type of exercise plan that burns the most calories,” Davis points out.
Just because people of all ages, shapes and weights ride horses on a regular basis, it may not be as easy as it looks. Therefore, one should study all aspects of horseback riding before making a definite decision that it is the right exercise mode to undertake.
“If you have never ridden a horse or would like to learn more about correct form and position, it would be wise to begin taking horseback riding lessons,” Davis recognizes. “Not only will you be getting into better shape, but you will be learning a new skill and developing better communication with the horses that you ride.”
One might be asked during the first lesson to start out at a walk in order to gain the feel and momentum of the horse.
“Balance will be a main key to your starting lessons,” Davis explains. “Once you gain your balance and are able to control the horse, the instructor will ask you to pick up speed in the form of a trot.
“When riding at the trot, the instructor may ask you to post, which is moving your body up and down to the rhythm of the horse’s strides. Basically, when the horse’s outside front leg goes forward, you will almost stand up using your inner thighs along with the propulsion of the horse to move yourself up.
As the horse’s outside front leg goes back, you will sit down. When trying this exercise without using the stirrups, you will gain some serious tone in your inner thighs,” Davis
After a rider moves from a trot up to a canter, it actually doesn’t feel like a work out, but as one works on balancing the body while maintaining the correct form, one will begin to feel the exercise benefits.
Of course, beginner riders often experience saddle sores in the beginning and wobbly legs for the first few days, but when one is on a consistent riding program, one will become less winded and more in shape.
“After you are finished riding your horse, you should hand walk your horse so that you do not place your horse back into his/her stall while hot,” Davis comments. “This also helps you with aerobic workouts because you are walking beside your horse, which again, is much more fun than walking on a boring treadmill.”
In order to increase weight loss, by horse riding, it’s still important to follow a healthy, balanced diet, which includes a good range of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.
Twitte “Horseback riders tend to pay better attention to their horses’ diets than to their own,”according to printouts from the Equestrian Medical Safety Association (EMSA). “A rider’s diet must support the energy and bone health required for riding and equestrian sports.”
Complex carbohydrates, such as rice, pasta, cereals and breads, provide lasting energy, and that’s the reason marathon runners routinely gorge on pasta the evening
before a race.
Because protein promotes growth of new tissue and so aids in the healing of injuries,
EMSA recommends two to three servings of meat per day, from sources like beef, nuts and dairy products.
“Of all of the nutrients, none is more crucial to health and athletic performance than plain water,” says EMSA.
It helps a rider to regulate body temperature, and dehydration causes sluggishness and slow reaction time, which is dangerous to a rider. EMSA advises against diuretics
like caffeine and high-sodium beverages like tomato juice during competition.
The Whole Horse Catalog suggests that maturing female riders alter their diets to include calcium using supplements as needed to promote bone health and prevent
On the day of a long ride, EMSA encourages constant hydration and carbohydrate snacks, to maintain energy and alertness.
“In addition, studies show that motivation is improved when riders monitor weight and body measurements on a weekly basis using a regular bathroom-scales and recording general exercise progress,” Davis insists.
“Horseback riding is an excellent and fun exercise for anyone who would like to improve their overall fitness level. “Always remember safety when beginning any type of riding lessons and remember to wear a helmet.” Davis concludes.