Sunday, February 5, 2012

That Ounce Of Prevention

I just want to start this post with the caveat that I am not in any way an expert on this subject. These are just my own personal observations and experiences.

One of the things I've found that helps with my anxiety is my level of fitness. When you think about it it makes perfect sense that you are a lot less likely to stress out about riding a cross country course if you know that you are physically capable of riding correctly the entire time without tiring. When you start huffing and puffing less than halfway through that only adds to your stress. This applies to all three phases of course.

As a society we are entirely focused on the wrong thing; that is being thin or skinny. It amazes me how we often hear in the news about our unhealthy obsession with weight and yet nothing ever changes. Magazines continue to Photoshop women into completely absurd shapes; Hollywood continues to glorify being waif-like and the sad thing is we often fall for the lie.

I personally think that focusing on getting thin is what makes losing weight so difficult. Instead of focusing on losing weight or some magical number on the scale we need to focus on getting STRONG and healthy. Focusing on getting fit gives you a goal that is obtainable and measurable getting skinny is subjective and therefor elusive.

This is not to say that getting fit is easy. There are tons of blogs and self-help sites, etc out there so I'm not going to write an entire blog on how to get fit or anything but I did want to mention a couple of things that help me.

1. Don't focus just on cardio. Come on girls don't be afraid to lift some weights! You don't have to be a body builder but if your biceps are the same size as your forearms you might want to consider investing in some dumb bells or something. Just my personal opinion. This will help you with your riding and believe it or not if you do it long enough you won't just see more muscle but also less fat.

2. If you get bored with exercise that is not directly horse related (like me) then consider joining a fitness class of some sort or find a fitness buddy. I am currently in a ladies only kickboxing class and I LOVE IT! It is a great work out and it is incredibly motivating.

3. Don't forget about flexibility. This is probably one of the areas I struggle with the most and yet it really is one of the most important aspects to being fit. Being flexible will help prevent a lot of injuries and there are a number of ways it will directly help your riding such as helping you get your leg longer on your horse for dressage. Take a few minutes every day to do some stretching. You won't regret it.

Of course none of this beats time in the saddle but being fit out of the saddle really is just as important as being fit in the saddle. And for those of us who just don't have the option of spending hours a day in the saddle it is a must.

1 comment:

  1. Agreed. I am very fortunate that my SO is a professional personal trainer and a student physical therapist. Taking care of yourself and managing known issues means another day of riding :)