Posts Tagged ‘exercise’

Horseback Riding For Your Figure & Mind

Constance_Dunn_Riding_Horses

Photo: Peter Rains

If you’ve never ridden a horse, I recommend you take one private lesson with an even-tempered trainer at a good facility. I can think of no other outdoor sport that engages those hard to reach yet desired to be fit areas of the body more than riding. An hour or so in the saddle whips the lower back, abdominals, glutes and that complex web of inner/outer thigh muscles more satisfactorily than any other sport I’ve engaged in.

Front Adductor Muscles: Horseback riding isolates this very special inner thigh muscle

Horseback riding also isolates and tones this special rear inner thigh muscle

Rear Adductor Muscles: Horseback riding also isolates this very special rear, inner thigh muscle

The overall result is that if you horseback ride regularly–walking, trotting, cantering and even jumping–your figure will look more shapely for it, particularly your rear wheels.

I recommend you augment riding with a cardiovascular activity like jogging or aerobics, as it will trim fat and increase your riding stamina. Riding last week after a month-long break had me nearly toppled over in the saddle after a couple laps cantering in an outdoor ring. Angel the horse, who exercises every day, on the other hand, was doing just fine.

Regular riding thins and sculpts the entire inner/outer thighs and glutes, and seems to morph the entire leg into something of a band of steel. It even adds some oomph to the arms from holding the reins and steering.

When I don’t ride at least weekly, I notice a quick change in the look of this area. Wanting to sustain it on a permanent basis I have asked two horse trainers how to get the same workout without riding. Apparently there is no other sport or exercises that engage the same areas of the body in the way that horseback riding does.

That, plus using subtle hand and leg gestures to command a 1,000-plus pound animal over a wood pile makes riding a diversion of vast physical and mental payoffs. In all, riding is a tremendous confidence, poise and derriere shaper, and I highly recommend it.