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seniors horse riding benefits

How Horse Riding Can Be Beneficial For Seniors

If you’ve never been horse riding, let me tell you, it is a whole workout and your muscles will be screaming the next day. But if you take it slowly, you’ll find it a great exercise that has many cardiovascular, muscle, and emotional benefits.

That’s why all of a sudden, we see horse therapy programs aimed at improving the overall health of patients. But what about seniors? Is horse riding good for them or is it too risky?

Horse riding is a great exercise, especially for seniors. It can improve their overall health as it is an exercise that keeps them active at all times. Both physically and mentally. 

Getting on a horse ride sounds fun, but we have to take some precautions, right? – Well, in today’s article we will explore all the benefits that seniors can get from riding a horse and how to do it properly to ensure the best possible results. 

Physical Benefits

Muscle Strength and Flexibility

One of the first and most evident benefits of horse riding is the ability to enhance muscle strength and flexibility. This is perfect, especially with seniors who deal with sarcopenia, which is an age-related loss of muscle mass.

In other words, horse riding will help them build muscle tissue that is beneficial for their physical health. Riding a horse is a physical activity, and it engages muscles you never even knew existed. It is a great way to activate the muscles that might otherwise be neglected, and build the necessary muscle strength that will bring many benefits in their everyday life.

On the other hand, we have flexibility and joint mobility. Seniors often don’t engage in very physical activities, which is why their muscles are stiff and they have joint pain. Horse riding is the perfect activity to stretch out your muscles and improve your joint mobility. The act of mounting the horse alone is enough to give seniors more flexibility. On top of that, we have the process of maintaining balance while riding, which is great for muscle strength, flexibility, and joint mobility.

Cardiovascular Health

Another important benefit that comes from riding a horse is the moderate level of aerobic exercise, which is perfect for your cardiovascular health.

There are many pieces of research that indicate that riding a horse can elevate your heart rate, but not too much (if it is a casual ride), which is right at the beneficial level similar to traditional aerobic exercise.

Did you know that horse riding is also great for lowering your blood pressure? So, seniors who suffer from high blood pressure or are taking blood pressure-lowering medication can engage in horse riding as an activity that will improve their overall health. Horse riding is also great for improving your overall heart rate, even at relaxing and casual rides.

This means that you don’t have to be a professional jockey riding at 40 MPH to get the benefits from horse riding. Let the professionals do the job while you sit down and prepare a bet. And if you don’t know how to do that, check out these horse racing betting odds explained.

Bone Density

Bone density is a serious problem for seniors. As we reach old age, our bone density isn’t the same as when we were young. This is where horse riding comes in handy.

The impact from casual horse rides helps to strengthen bones, which is very important, especially for seniors who face some health problems like osteoporosis. 

Mental Benefits

Cognitive Stimulation

Riding a horse isn’t only good for your physical fitness, it is a mind game too. Learning to communicate with your horse, interpreting its behavior, and navigating trails all provide cognitive challenges that keep the mind engaged. 

Mental stimulation is very important for seniors and can help delay cognitive decline and improve their overall mental acuity.

Emotional Well-being

Horses have been our most loyal companions for thousands of years, and humans have formed a special bond with these animals.

This unique relationship provides emotional support, reduces feelings of loneliness, and promotes a sense of purpose. Additionally, the calm, rhythmic motion of riding and being in nature contributes to lower stress levels and a more relaxed state of mind​​.

Social Interaction

There isn’t a better way to improve your mental state than having a social interaction with other people. This is something that seniors struggle with. Horse riding is a great social activity, whether you are taking lessons, participating in group rides, or just casually watching equestrian events.

Many programs offer special classes for seniors, which is their ticket to meet new people and enter a supportive environment where they can share their experiences.

Practical Tips for Seniors Interested in Riding

Horse riding can be dangerous, which is why seniors need to start slowly and under professional supervision. Here are some tips that will help you get started:

  • Take Lessons: You cannot expect to get on a horse and know how to ride. You need to start small and get some local riding lessons for beginners.
  • Safety Gear: You are dealing with an animal, which means that there is always a risk of falling off since you cannot predict its every move. Therefore, wearing proper gear is a must. Safety is crucial, and the right gear can prevent injuries.
  • Choose the Right Horse: This is something your trainer or a professional can help you with. Not all horses are the same, and you’d want a horse that is calm and not that active. Make sure you choose a horse that matches your skill level and comfort.

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