View Full Version : Fitness Level before starting over again??
19th Apr 2005, 10:07 AM
i'm officially very new here and have decided that its time that I fulfil my dream to be a good rider and really see if I'm cut out to enjoy horses as much as an adult as I did when i was a kid :)
I used to ride a bit as a child but never had proper lessons and due to a nervewrecking incident when I was about 12 I haven't really ridden since. I really regret this and feel its silly for that to stop me riding again.
So...to cut a long story short I want to start riding again and to get proper lessons to help boost my confidence (and proficiency!)
But...at the moment i'm not very fit (due to some medical issues mainly) and want to use riding as my motivation to getting fit and strong again.
Could anyone suggest a good fitness level gauge to get to before staring to ride again?
for example - should i be able to run 30 miles and then swim 100laps of a pool without breaking a sweat?? :p
any advise is most appreciated. Many thanks and happy riding ;)
19th Apr 2005, 10:37 AM
Hi and welcome :) Brilliant news that you are getting back into riding, there are lots of us here that returned to riding as an adult after a long break, and it's definately worth it! :D
Im not sure I could put an exact level on how fit you should be, but really, the fitter and more flexible you are, the easier you will find it to get back into the swing of it.Things like Yoga and pilates are great for the suppleness that helps with mounting and riding in general. Also, the stronger your core is the easier you will find it to mantain a good position, so work on the stomach and lower back muscles will help to hold you in place. Just do a little work on some stretching, walking, swimming, that sort of thing! But I really wouldn't worry too much, the sooner you get back in the saddle the fitter you will get over time anyway. Nothing better than getting fit for riding than RIDING! :D
Good luck, be sure to keep us updated on how you get on. Look forward to seeing you around :)
19th Apr 2005, 10:51 AM
Monkeydo, I felt the same way when I started riding 2 years ago at age 52. I had actually been going to a gym off and on for about 2 years. I started going regularly for about 6 months when I had the idea of taking lessons and then joined a yoga studio for the 3 months before i started riding. I was always in good shape, but got lazy with sitting at a desk for several years.
I think that core muscle strength would help you the most and the yoga helps with that and with flexibility and with learning to breathe and relax. When you are just starting, you probably won't be doing anything too strenuous so you should have time to gradually become fitter.
There is a good book called Yoga for Equestrians. My weakest muscles are my arm muscles (can hardly do one push up) but you don't want to be using too much arm strength anyway. Stretching you hamstrings to be able to keep your heels down is a good exercise and anything that gives you stronger abdominal and back muscles will help also.
Running? I never run but I do a lot of walking and I would be riding my bike but it has a flat tire!!
Good luck and I hope we hear about your first lesson soon!
19th Apr 2005, 05:38 PM
How fit are you? I wouldn't worry about it too much, unless you are exptremely unfit, heh. I started back riding after recovering from knee surgery, and although I wasn't in too bad a shape fitness wise, I certainly wasn't at my best. But I did continue a fitness regimine after starting riding...well I was doing that anyway as part of PT after the surgery...and getting more fit has certainly helped my riding. Since then I've bought my own horse and have had to increase fitness as we are doing more demanding work like jumping.
There was one woman at my stables who didn't want to take lessons until she was back 'in shape' so she would hack out. She still hasn't taken a lesson, but she also hasn't let not being in shape stop her from at least doing some riding. :)
Goor luck in your riding! And enjoy NR...it's a great forum. :)
19th Apr 2005, 09:15 PM
Thanks for your replies.
I'm not too unfit :p (take my dogs walking and jogging most days) but I've got some joint issues that cause me alot of pain and I really want to be fit enough to enjoy the riding rather that writhing in agony from the boucing around which I will inevitably do as a learner.
Its nice to know that my current regime of a bit of yoga/pilates, some aerobic stuff and tonnes of stretching is along the lines of whats required :) I'll just have to work harder on my core strength.
I'd love to be able to use riding as my exercise and fitness plan but unfortunately I'll only be able to ride about once a week so I'll have to supplement with what you have all suggested.
19th Apr 2005, 11:30 PM
You sound like you are on an excellent fitness plan. Are your knees the culprits? I have bad knees too, and strengthening the muscles around them by doing leg lifts and biking has helped a lot. That and a couple of aspirin after riding! :)
I had some problems with my lower back, but that has been helped by working on my abs and just general increased fitness. I also use a seatbone saver on my saddle.
With yoga and pilates, you are definitely on the right track for pretty much anything.
When are you planning to start lessons? :)
20th Apr 2005, 12:19 AM
I wouldn't wait. There is no "minimum fitness level" needed to begin riding. In fact, therapeutic riding programs are based on using riding to help build flexibility, confidence, and muscle in people who have physical disabilities.
I would recommend just getting out there and seeing how it goes. Just discuss the joint issues with your instructor beforehand, so she realizes that you may want to take it slow or may need breaks along the way. Be sure that she is "on board" with you in terms of understanding this. She may even find ways to help you accommodate if certain things make you sore (e.g., perhaps you are better off doing a lot of work in walk at first, perhaps your knees are better with longer stirrups or no stirrups, etc.)
The riding itself can help as one part of your fitness program. Plus, it will certainly be easier to stay motivated when you are actually riding versus just imagining doing it one day.
20th Apr 2005, 01:56 AM
Yep its my knees, hips and ankles that are most of the problem. I just get joint pain pretty much all over....to quote a doctor I'm a "medical mystery" - fun eh!!!
I would love to start lessons now but its turning to winter over here in New Zealand so I was planning to work hard on my fitness until spring and summer come around when it will be nicer to be out and about on a horse.
Thanks heaps for your advice and I have to say the seatbone savers looked like a really good idea for my rickety bones....I sound like I'm 90 don't I! I'm only 25 but feel pretty aged when my joints decide to play up !
happy horsing around :)
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