Healthy Body, Healthy Mind - Bring On 2022

Healthy Body & Mind

Safe to say, most of us were glad to wave goodbye to 2021. A year defined by new variants, vaccinations and freedom in moderation, it’s certainly been one we won’t forget in a hurry. The big question is, what does 2022 have in-store for you? Just a few days into the year, there’s plenty of time to take the path of positivity and progress. So, put away those Christmas chocolates and don the exercise gear, because we’re about to share with you our top tips for nurturing a healthy body and a healthy mind this year!

Healthy Body – Fit & Flexible

Lets be honest, by the time January comes around, most of us have well and truly over indulged on a feast of festive foods! Whether we’ve been chomping chocolates, scoffing share bags or munching mince pies, we’re rarely feeling our best. So, when the clock strikes 12am on New Years Day, we set one simple resolution: Get Fit! But then what?

For most of us avid riders, the ultimate way to stay healthy is to spend hours in the saddle. The thing is, with dark nights, wet weather and short days here to stay, it’s not always that simple! Thankfully though, there’s plenty of exercises we can do at home to help maintain and strengthen our riding muscles, improve our stamina and engage our core!

Healthy Body - Fit & Flexible

Maintaining Muscle

With winter in full swing, we’re all struggling to find the time and motivation to ride. But this doesn’t have to mean losing tone or gaining weight! The primary muscle groups we use when riding can easily be maintained from the comfort (and warmth) of our own homes! Take a look at a few simple exercises you can do to stay in great shape ready for Spring…

Core

Core strength is vital for horse riding, and therefore one of the key things to focus on when it comes to equestrian fitness. Having a strong core helps you to maintain a good position with a neutral back. Often, when we ride we become lazy, slouching like a sack of spuds. This impairs the effectiveness of your seat and prevents you moving in harmony with your horse. Here’s how to develop your core…

Healthy Body - Home Fitness
Transverse Abdominis

Your core! This sheet of muscle wraps around the centre of your body stabilising the area between your ribs and pelvis.

Exercises

  • Flutter Kicks
  • Plank
  • Bicycle Crunches
  • Snow Angel
Healthy Body - Home Fitness
Obliques

Working with your abdominal muscles, obliques play a large role in keeping your body upright, so they’re really important for riding. If you have a tendency to place more weight onto one seat bone than the other, this is likely the cause of the problem!

Exercises

  • Sitting Twists
  • Side Plank
  • Floor Wipers

Legs & Bum

Which part of your body is the first to ache after a long ride or your first ride back after a break? Your legs of course! Typically, us riders have big chunky thighs and calves. But there’s more going on with our legs than first meets the eye! Riding horses uses the leg muscles in ways that you don’t often have to in day-to-day life. From rising in trot to maintaining our balance and communicating with our horse, their roll is huge.

Healthy Body - Home Fitness
Piriformis

The Piriformis is a muscle that connects from your hip to your legs. In riding, it’s responsible for balance while in the saddle.

Exercises

  • High Knees
  • Band Walk
  • Hip Opener
Home Fitness
Psoas & Iliacus

The Iliacus and Psoas form the hip flexors. The Psoas is the main connector between your body and legs. Used to control posture and stabilise the spine, it’s key to absorbing your horses movement. From jumping position to sitting trot, the Iliacus controls the rotation of our thighs and movement of our mid section.

Exercises

  • Hip Circle
  • Up and Over
  • Side Lunge
  • Couch Stretch
Healthy Body - Home Fitness
Gluteus Maximus

We’ve all heard of this one… Of course it’s our bum! Did you know it’s the largest and heaviest muscle in the body? Used for powerful lower limb movements like jumping or rising trot. Tensing this muscle encourages the thighs to activate, perfect for when you want to use your seat to half-halt or stop. The down side however if we’re tense, it blocks our horses movement.

Exercises

  • Double Leg Bounding
  • Single Leg Hip Thrust
  • Squat

Here we’ve listed just a few exercises that work each of the key muscle groups. No one likes to look like they’ve skipped a gym day, so we’d recommend building up a routine that targets each area equally. To avoid that familiar feeling of dread before every workout, try each of the exercises to find the options best suited to you. Often, the best thing to do is to get into a routine and stick to it. You also need to make sure you don’t over do it, it’s important to build up your work load gradually and safely.

Keeping Fit – Cardio

Staying in good shape isn’t all about maintaining muscle. Perhaps even more important to our health is incorporating cardio into our workouts. For most of us, mucking out and trawling through muddy fields will help with this. That being said, extra little changes to your daily routine like taking the stairs or walking instead of driving really do make a difference. You could also have a go at cross training, or in layman’s terms, taking up another sport to help your riding. Cycling, swimming and jogging are all great options.

Being constantly bombarded by bad news can leave us feeling rather defeated, right? Many studies have proven that regular exercise can help to reduce anxiety and depression. So, even if massive muscles and a toned tummy aren’t on your wish list finding a way to get your 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week is a really terrific target!

Healthy Mind – Confident & Positive

Healthy Mind - Confident & Positive

Once upon a time the idea of days where we didn’t even have to change out of our PJ’s would have seemed like a fantastic thing, but everything in moderation, right? It’s fair to say that at some point over the last few years we’ve all struggled with life governed by restrictions and anxiety. Staying healthy isn’t all about our body! Now’s not the time to forget about our brains.

Visualisation

This is something almost all of us have done, even if we didn’t realise it at the time! Visualisation is essentially a virtual training experience. Often used by professional athletes to plan and perfect every action in preparation for a competition, it’s a tool we could all make use of!

During the countless lock downs endured over the last two years, we’ve all tried to improve our riding knowledge by reading, watching videos or even taking online courses. This is all well and good, but have you been putting the theory into practice?

How To Use It

If you’re short on time (or simply prefer to be inside in the warm) visualisation is the training tool for you. The great thing about visualisation is that you can do it anytime, anywhere (providing it’s safe to do so). Imagine your writing a story, like any great author leave no detail unexplored.

Improving Your Riding

Take yourself back to a time when you got a really great piece of advice or had a fantastic lesson. Pay attention to every tiny detail from the feel down the reins to the position of your leg and the functioning of your muscles. In reliving these experiences, you’ll become more aware of the things you’d like to replicate and those you could improve. Two of the biggest benefits to visualising over physically riding are time and control. Your free to focus on purely your riding. You can do this for as long as it takes to achieve your goals, not to mention you can pause, fast forward and rewind until you’ve got it cracked!

Thinking Your Way To Better Riding

Ever felt like something happened just because you thought about it? This isn’t always a positive feeling, but it can be, when it’s used properly! Another serious selling point for this practice is creating a positive mental attitude. Often what separates winners from losers (or success from failure) is believing you can do it! Visualising achieving something you’ve always wanted can be a real confidence boost, providing some extra motivation to go and make it happen!


We hope this blog has given you all the motivation you need to be a healthy, happy horse owner in 2022. Whatever your goal, go achieve it! Happy New Year from everyone here at Naylors.

Nothing worth having ever came easy!

Naylors Help

Sorry to hear that you are having an issue. For us to help you further please quote the following to our customer care team.

peopleCustomer Care Hub emailEmail phonePhone