Riding way to greater fitness and confidence
Published 11/01/2012 | 06:00
If, like me, you had a list of New Year's resolutions as long as your arm, the chances are that by now we have already broken a high proportion of them.
High on my list was the aim of becoming more active, getting fitter and generally overhauling my lifestyle.
Using my new smartphone and a plethora of calorie-counting apps, I quickly realised that my daily calorie intake over Christmas was far in excess of what even the most relaxed dietician would disapprove of.
Luckily, I was able to counter-balance my calorie catastrophe with a recent study that proves that horse riding is good for my health.
In November, the British Horse Society (BHS) published a study it commissioned from the University of Brighton and Plumpton College examining the physical health, psychological and well-being benefits of recreational horse riding.
The study found that horse riding and activities associated with it, such as mucking out, expend sufficient energy to be classed as moderate intensity exercise.
Using a measurement called metabolic equivalents (METs), the scientific trials showed that general horse riding energy expenditure was the same as 3.7 METs, trotting equated to around 5.0 METs, while saddling and grooming equated to 3.5 METs. All of these measurements are classed as moderate intensity exercise.
More than two thirds (68pc) of questionnaire respondents achieved the British government guidelines for exercise intensity and frequency (30 minutes for three times a week or more at moderate intensity) from horse riding and associated activities alone. Within these, 69pc achieved this level of intensity and frequency through horse riding alone, while the other 21pc achieved it through associated activities such as mucking out and grooming.