Physical and Mental Health Benefits of Horseback Riding

Physical and Mental Health Benefits of Horseback Riding
Published Tuesday, November 5, 2019
by Feature Staff

Those who don't have much experience horseback riding may wonder what health benefits they could gain from simply sitting on a horse. The sport of horseback riding is quite physically challenging and has therapeutic qualities, so it provides physical and mental health benefits. To learn more about the many health benefits of horseback riding, continue reading.

Physical benefits of horseback riding

Strengthened muscles

Horseback riding is an isometric exercise that targets specific muscle groups and helps maintain strength. While riding, one's core muscles, such as obliques and abdominals, engage to balance on the horse's back. In addition to the core, muscles in the back, chest, inner thighs, and pelvis are also strengthened so that the rider can maintain proper posture.

Improved coordination

Riding a horse involves performing various movements simultaneously to properly balance on and guide the horse. One's coordination--or ability to efficiently utilize different parts of the body at once--is improved as a result while horseback riding.

Improved posture

Strong abdominal and lower back muscles are essential for maintaining good standing and sitting positioning. Horseback riding provides a great way to improve one's posture due to the core muscles it targets. In addition to strengthening core muscles, horseback riding further helps improve posture due to the specific poses required to keep balance. By practicing proper riding positioning, your posture out of the saddle will likely improve, as well.

Mental benefits of horseback riding

Relieved stress

Horseback riding is an inherently relaxing activity due to the natural rhythm of the horse's trot. The gentle bouncing motion can have a massaging effect that improves circulation and relaxation in the rider. This calming effect is further enhanced as the rider spends time outside and gets physical exercise; both of which have stress-relieving capabilities.

Improved mood

Riding a horse has been found to have a positive impact on one's mood. This effect is largely due to the release of the mood-enhancing hormone, serotonin, which contributes to feelings of happiness. The body releases this chemical as one spends time with animals, such as horses, which improves one's disposition.

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