Horse Riding & The Pelvic Floor - All You Need to Know
Horse riding as a hobby is often very relaxing for the rider. There is something about close contact with an animal that is very therapeutic, and the pressures of everyday life can seem to fade into insignificance on the back of a horse.
It provides the rider with a wonderful opportunity to get into the great outdoors and immerse themselves in nature, and brings loads of other mental, physical and personal benefits.
But what impact does horse riding have on our pelvic floor?
I suppose it could be thought that sitting on the back of a half ton horse, whilst bouncing up and down could be detrimental to the strength and health of your pelvic floor, and if you are already suffering with weak pelvic floor muscles, this is a concern with everything that you do.
When we find ourselves dealing with a weakened pelvic floor and pelvic floor dysfunction, we will usually turn to doing Kegels as a first line of attack. Kegel exercises, especially when done using the wonderful Kegel weights from Secret Whispers can be the answer to let you live a leak-free life.
In addition to regular Kegels, whether you are a pro equestrian, or just fancy giving horse riding a go, it’s worth considering whether horse riding can help pelvic floor muscles.
Does Horse Riding Help Pelvic Floor Muscles?
In short, Yes! Horse riding is an activity that requires significant engagement of the pelvis and pelvic floor, and according to Bibliomed 1, Horseback riding can strengthen the pelvic floor and reduce the risks of pelvic floor dysfunction. A survey carried out by NCBI2 found that “recreational horseback riding does not affect the subjective sensation of the pelvic floor adversely”.
So, How Does Riding Help Pelvic Floor Muscles?
There are several physical benefits to horse riding, such as better balance, improved posture and enhanced coordination, but the one the interests us most here is the improved core strength that you will enjoy as a result.
Whatever position the rider adopts, be it posterior, anterior or neutral pelvic tilt, a riders muscles will be continually engaged whilst in the saddle3.
Engaging your body’s pelvic floor and lower abdominal muscles plays a critical role in allowing you to stay balanced and avoid bouncing when in the saddle. Additionally, as you and your horse navigate uneven terrain, you’ll likely have to adjust your posture to ensure you stay safely seated in your saddle.
As you adjust your posture, you’ll need to engage different muscles throughout your core, which includes those in your abdomen, pelvic floor, and lower back. Strengthening multiple muscles in your core can help improve balance and stability, and it can help reduce the risk of injury when performing other physical activities.
Many riding improvement websites advise regularly practicing Kegels to improve pelvic floor strength, thus aiding riding posture and control!
By their very nature, some of the gaits used in riding, such as sitting trot, are likely to cause some leakage if you are already suffering with pelvic floor dysfunction.
The bouncing action of the horse, paired with sitting and jiggling up and down, are a recipe for disaster if your pelvic floor muscles are weak already. This is called ‘stress incontinence’ and can be improved by a dedicated regime of pelvic floor Kegel exercises, and more information can be found at the following links:
Whilst pelvic floor dysfunction can be embarrassing, inconvenient and uncomfortable, you are most definitely not alone in having to find a way to deal with it, and there is no reason why you should accept it, or let it stop you doing life your way. Secret Whispers Kegel weights are a great addition to your Kegel routine, to get you leak free in no time!
Any questions? Just email us at email@example.com and we will get straight back to you.
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