Horse riding is one of the oldest sports in the world, and it is also one of the few sports that gives its riders an opportunity to work on their physical strength and endurance. Horse riding requires considerable core strength, balance, and control from its riders, and this means that many riders develop strong pelvic floor muscles in order to maintain the correct posture and balance on a horse. In this article, we will be exploring the topic of whether horse riders do indeed have strong pelvic floor muscles and the health benefits that come with such strength.
What is the Pelvic Floor?
Before we can understand the effects of horse riding on the pelvic floor, it is important to understand what the pelvic floor actually is and why it is important. The pelvic floor is a group of muscles and tissues that act as a sling to support the internal organs and the spine. These muscles form the base of the core and are responsible for the control and movement of the bladder, bowel, and reproductive organs. They also help to support the back and prevent lower back pain.
What are the Benefits of Strong Pelvic Floor Muscles?
Strong pelvic floor muscles are essential to a healthy lifestyle and can provide many benefits. They can help to improve core stability and reduce the risk of injury. They can also help to reduce the risk of incontinence and can help to improve sexual function. Additionally, strong pelvic floor muscles can help to improve posture and reduce back pain.
How Does Horse Riding Help to Improve Pelvic Floor Strength?
Horse riding is an excellent way to improve the strength of the pelvic floor muscles. This is because when riding, the rider needs to maintain the correct posture and use their core muscles to stay balanced and in control. This means that riders need to use their pelvic floor muscles to help keep them stable and in the right position. Additionally, when riding, the rider needs to be able to control the horse with their legs, which requires strong and flexible pelvic floor muscles.
Pelvic Floor Exercises for Horse Riders
In addition to riding, there are also a number of pelvic floor exercises that riders can do to help improve their pelvic floor strength.
Kegel exercises are a great way for riders to strengthen their pelvic floor muscles. These exercises involve contracting and releasing the pelvic floor muscles, usually for 10 seconds at a time. This helps to strengthen the pelvic floor and can help to improve control over the bladder and bowel.
Pelvic tilts are another great way to strengthen the pelvic floor. This exercise involves lying on the floor and lifting the hips while maintaining a neutral spine. This helps to strengthen the abdominal, back, and pelvic floor muscles, which can help to improve riding control and balance.
Squats are a great way to strengthen the entire core, including the pelvic floor. Squats involve bending the knees and hips while maintaining an upright posture. This helps to strengthen the muscles of the legs, hips, and pelvic floor, which can help to improve balance and control when riding.
Tips for Strengthening the Pelvic Floor
- Breathe correctly – Make sure to breathe correctly when doing pelvic floor exercises. This helps to ensure that the muscles are properly engaged and helps to prevent injury.
- Focus on quality – Focus on quality rather than quantity when doing pelvic floor exercises. This helps to ensure that the muscles are properly engaged and strengthens them more effectively.
- Be consistent – Consistency is key when it comes to pelvic floor exercises. Set a regular schedule for doing these exercises and stick to it.
- Listen to your body – Listen to your body and make sure to stop if you experience any pain.
In conclusion, it is clear that horse riders do indeed have strong pelvic floor muscles. This is due to the fact that horse riding requires riders to maintain the correct posture and use their core muscles to stay balanced and in control. Additionally, there are a number of pelvic floor exercises that riders can do to help improve their pelvic floor strength, such as Kegel exercises, pelvic tilts, and squats. Finally, it is important to remember to breathe correctly, focus on quality, be consistent, and listen to your body when doing these exercises.
1. National Institute of Health. (2021). Pelvic Floor Disorders. Retrieved from: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/urologic-diseases/pelvic-floor-disorders
2. Sheppard, S. (2020). Horse Riding and Pelvic Floor Health. Retrieved from: https://www.ridingforhealth.com/horse-riding-and-pelvic-floor-health/
3. Kegel Exercises. (2021). Retrieved from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/womens-health/in-depth/kegel-exercises/art-20045283
4. Mayo Clinic. (2021). Pelvic Tilt. Retrieved from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/multimedia/pelvic-tilt/vid-20308720