Slimming: does horse riding make you lose weight?


Horse riding is a unique sport that involves the collaboration of one or more horses. Also, we often imagine that it is not so intense since it's the animal that seems to do all the work…To what extent does it really allow you to exercise and refine your figure? Insights from Priscille Le Grelle, federal doctor of the French Equestrian Federation (FFE).

Horse riding, a complete sport… of moderate intensity!

Contrary to the popular belief that horseback riding is just a leisure activity, riding a horse is actually a complete physical activity that uses many muscle groups.

That said, it is not the most intense sport on the cardiorespiratory level, underlines Priscille Le Grelle. “Certain disciplines, such as cross-country, horse ball or show jumping, are undoubtedly more intense than dressage, but they still involve moderate energy expenditure,” believes the expert.

As a reminder, a moderate intensity sport can increase metabolism and contribute to weight loss, but many factors must be taken into account to assess calorie expenditure, such as its duration and frequency!

Riding a horse still promotes energy expenditure

As you will have understood, horse riding is less intense than other sports such as running or football. But it still allows you to exercise. Because ? Maintain good posture uses many muscles, including abdominal muscles, back muscles, legs and arms. And the simple fact of staying in the saddle and controlling the horse requires constant effort which promotes caloric expenditure. Not to mention the care given to the horse (such as feeding, grooming, saddling, etc.) also require a certain amount of energy!

What parts of the body do we work on horseback?

As noted above, horseback riding uses several muscle groups:

  • Abdominals and back musclesessential for maintaining good posture while balancing body weight and absorbing the horse's movements.
  • Arm and shoulder musclescalled upon to balance and hold the reins in order to communicate with their horse.
  • The gluteal muscleswhich are involved in maintaining the balance and stability of riders.
  • Thighshighly required to ensure stability on the horse and adapt to its movements.
  • Calvescalled upon to give subtle indications to the horse and maintain a correct position.

The horse, a wonderful mediator to get moving!

Beyond its physical and sporting benefits, horse riding offers riders the opportunity to create a unique and soothing bond with an animal, but also to reconnect with nature. As Priscille Le Grelle explains to us, hair is wonderful partners: it soothes us, helps us fight against isolation and a sedentary lifestyle, but also allows us to become aware of our body and our daily physiological needs.

In detail, horse riding is not just about riding a horse. It also needs to be taken care of before and after the work session. A responsibility that motivates many people to get moving again and decenter themselves to better prioritize the needs of their companion. Working in an outdoor career or going for a walk also allows you to enjoy nature and fresh air. A welcome advantage to combat a sedentary lifestyle!

Working with horses can also be very beneficial mentally. Time spent outdoors combined with connection with pets can reduce stress, improve mood, and boost overall well-being. Priscille Le Grelle, federal doctor of the French Equestrian Federation (FFE).

Furthermore, horse riding is often practiced in groups, whether during lessons, rides or even competitions. Club life promotes social interactions and can encourage the most isolated people to communicate to better progress and to spend time with other people who are passionate about horses. So many parameters that promote evening confidence, long-term commitment and improved lifestyle.

A sport suitable for overweight people!

Are you overweight or obese? Know that horse riding is a sport accessible with a prescription! Don't limit yourself because of your weight. “ There is no minimum or maximum weight for riding a horse – or simply to take care of it first. People who are overweight or obese can practice horse riding. with a suitable mount and some adjustments to improve their comfort and protect their health,” assures Priscille Le Grelle.

Regular horse riding is not enough to lose weight!

As you know, weight loss depends the balance between calories consumed and calories burned each day. “Horse riding in itself is therefore not necessarily sufficient to lose weight or even maintain a healthy weight,” warns Priscille Le Grelle.

Its intensity can in fact vary considerably depending on the discipline practiced and the intensity of the activity. And even if you spent 500 calories during a TREC session, if you don't pay attention to your diet, your sleep or your stress level, you probably won't notice any difference on the scale! Without forgetting that weight loss depends on many individual factors that are difficult to act on, such as genetics, metabolism or state of health.

In summary, if you want to lose weight by practicing horse riding, consider adapting your lifestyle and practicing a more intense sporting activity at the same time, such as swimming, cycling or football. If necessary, consult a doctor to benefit from a personalized program based on your physical abilities, your state of health and your goals!

Why does horse riding sometimes make your thighs bigger?

If you regularly practice horse riding, you may have noticed an increase in the volume of your thighs? This is simply explained… “Some people gain muscle mass in the thighs, which can make their thighs appear bigger. In reality, they have gained muscle mass (not fat mass) – which does not necessarily have an impact on the scale! », explains Priscille Le Grelle.

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