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An hour of horse riding burns up to 650 calories!

Top 5 reasons horse riding is a complete workout.

Written by Kriti Saraswat |Published : February 7, 2014 11:44 AM IST

Horse ridingHorse riding is not just an activity you do when you visit a hill-station on vacations. It most certainly is a full-body and mind workout. And no, it is not just restricted to men, women too can take reins in their own hands and be assured of a stronger and more agile body. Bollywood babe Parineeti Chopra, last seen in Hasee toh Phasee, has often admitted her love for horse riding and how it's part of her weight loss regimen to get a toned figure. If you still aren't convinced, read the fitness benefits of horse riding. Saddle up!

Cardio workout: It gets your adrenaline pumping, your pulse raised and improves your metabolism (Read what is metabolism). This means that it's good for burning fat. Just one hour of horse riding burns up to 650 calories.

Tones muscles: Horse riding is great for toning your muscles. When riding, a rider's muscles relax and contract according to the horse's movement. Since you need to adapt to your body positioning using small and controlled movements, every single muscle of your body will become naturally toned.

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Improves body balance and co-ordination: Horse riding requires good balance and co-ordination as the rider must listen and be aware of what the horse is doing, and adapt their own body movement accordingly. Therefore, the muscles and thought processes required to balance on the horse and to ride have been proven to significantly improve core strength, stability, posture and co-ordination. (5 bad postures that can affect your health)

Improves flexibility: Riding a horse requires the rider to be agile and swift. With time, your flexibility levels will improve as your muscles get stretched and you learn the ropes of maintaining your balance on the horse and sitting and getting off it with ease.

Raises stamina levels: To be able to burn 650 calories, you need stamina. Horse riding is not just sitting on the horse. Your complete body and mind are at work at the same time. Also, one needs to pet the horse, clean it, feed it to bond well with it. All these activities will significantly improve your stamina.

Strengthens your body: Not just toning your muscles, horse riding will strengthen them too! Your arms, backs and leg muscles will be stronger than ever. Though initial soreness is common, regular practice will make them stronger. Your glutes too will be in shape due to the constant flexing and tightening action to control the horse's movement. Also read exercises to tone your butt.

Tips for beginners

As with any other sport, stiffness in the body increases one's chances of getting injured so it is important to stretch out those muscles before and after riding the horse. Here are some stretching exercises to improve flexibility.

Diet plays an important role. Since you will be burning many calories, you need to fuel your body with the right foods. Also, make sure you eat light before the ride as too much food can make you feel nauseous.

Wear proper clothes and shoes. You will need boots or shoes with heels, helmet and clothes which fit well. These are not only to help you ride better but also for your safety.

Remember, you are dealing with an animal which has a mind of its own. It is important to pet and bond with the horse to be able to get the best experience out of your session. A simple tip to keep in mind is to not stand behind the horse lest you may get kicked by it.

Horse riding in India

Here are a few places you can learn to ride a horse:

With inputs from IANS.

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