Have you heard of the term ‘hippotherapy’? Hippotherapy is a form of horse-assisted therapy that is widely used around the world as a therapeutic alternative to rehabilitation. Whether you have ridden before or are looking to try a new activity, horse riding is a popular choice for many older adults in retirement. Why is horse riding so popular? Read on to find out more about the four benefits of horse riding for your health and well-being!
Building Physical Strength
Horse riding can help you to build your physical strength. You are also honing skills such as balance and mobility as you work on your horse-riding posture and coordination on your horse. As horse riding relies a lot on your own body muscles to influence the horse’s movement and direction of travel, you get a good workout that burns calories! Moreover, horse riding remains an accessible activity for those with arthritis or replaced hips and knees. The gentle motions in horse riding are a fantastic form of gentle exercise for anyone in retirement.
Many have discovered that the fresh barn smells, warm sunshine, crisp morning air, and the rhythmic movements of your horse can relieve stress and contribute to the overall improvement of your mood. Spending time outdoors and connecting with a gentle animal can also help to decrease depression and anxiety, while simultaneously boosting your self-confidence.
Making New Friends
Horse riding is more than simply being on a horse! You can also learn about the care needed to take care of horses, as well as learn how to groom them. All this time spent at the barn means quality time spent with other like-minded friends. You might be surprised to find out that it takes a team to help care for a horse. Having this social community and making new friends can be great for your mental and emotional health.
Strengthening Your Mind
Horse riding is not merely physical. It works your mind too. You learn how to effectively communicate with another creature, give it commands, and maneuver it around obstacles. As you get more proficient at horse riding, you can also learn varied styles, participate in competitions to show your skills, or teach others! These activities enhance your concentration skills, work your memory and executive functions, and improve your mental well-being. After all, learning is in itself, a great skill.
With all the benefits that horse riding offers for those in retirement, should you go riding as soon as you can? Well, hold your horses as there are some things important considerations to think about. You might have to consider your fitness levels, your ability, the type of horse you’ll be riding, as well as the risks associated with horse riding. Your base fitness is important as it determines whether you possess the strength to mount and dismount horses. You might also need experienced riders to guide your session and ensure that you always ride safely.
Although there are things you should not do as a retiree, horse riding is probably not one of them. As long as you engage in the activity in a safe manner and within a controlled environment, there are many health benefits to be reaped from riding horses.