Working out at the gym is not necessarily the best option for everyone.
Maybe it’s not exciting enough to keep you motivated, or you don’t like the atmosphere.
If you’re looking for a way to get some exercise, improve your mental health, and have some fun, horseback riding might be the perfect activity for you.
Physical Benefits of Riding Horses
Riding horses is a full-body workout.
To people who have never tried it before, horseback riding may not seem like much of a workout – “you just sit there while the horse does all the work,” they claim.
But staying balanced and steering the horse requires good core strength, and it involves mindfully controlled movements of various muscle groups.
The benefits for your physical health include:
- improved balance and coordination
- increased flexibility
- improved posture
- improved muscular strength and endurance
- improved bone strength and endurance
Horseback riding is also great for your cardiovascular health. Just like any other physical activity, it can get your heart rate up, help you burn calories, and expand your aerobic (breathing) capacity.
Mental Benefits of Riding Horses
Beyond the physical benefits, horseback riding also provides an opportunity to improve your mental and emotional health.
Some people compare the feeling of riding a horse to meditation, as it can be a very calming and stress-relieving experience that brings your awareness into the present moment.
Horse therapy has been shown to be an effective intervention for:
- people living with ADHD
- veterans living with PTSD
- children living with cerebral palsy
- people living with autism
- people with behavioral disorders
- adults recovering from a stroke
- people recovering through physical rehabilitation
The experience can be a fun social activity to share with your friends and family, or even just bonding with the horse can be rewarding.
Learning to ride and communicate with the horse can also provide a sense of accomplishment, satisfaction, and freedom.
Finding Fun Forms of Fitness
Horse riding may not be an option for everyone, but you can probably locate a nearby place to try it if you are interested.
Everyone needs some form of physical activity in their daily life to be healthy.
Finding the motivation to exercise is often more difficult than the exercise itself, which is why it’s important to choose activities that are right for you.
Look for activities that you want to do that you can get better at (not too easy, not too hard, just challenging enough to be rewarding) and connect you with others.
Experiment with different activities and find the ones that make you feel good physically, mentally, and emotionally. Including an activity like horseback riding in your fitness routine can add some variety and excitement to your journey to better health.