GET UP AND GO – Rider Fitness with Georgia Dixon
You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. That’s the same with me and the gym. Motivation is so hard to find especially in the winter when the days are shorter and the weather is colder. But, the event season is upon us and rider fitness is on the forefront of everyone’s minds.
I know the story, you have had a long day at work, you’ve done all of your jobs, you have ridden your horse(s) and all you want to do it sit in front of the TV and eat. But if you want to get fit this year and improve your riding by improving your fitness then you need to get out of this mindset and be the person that everybody else wishes they could be.
The season is here, kind of, and whether you stuck to your new year’s resolutions or not, Eventing Worldwide now have you covered. I am going to help you to get motivated to keep fit and healthy in a way which will help you to improve your riding and your position.
We have all been there, when you are riding your horse and you feel like you really need to start getting fitter. Perhaps you struggled with your sitting trot or perhaps the cross country course brought out your wheezy side.
It is no secret that the fitter you are, the better a rider you will become. However, as a horse rider there are specific exercises and targeted areas that will be more beneficial to work on than simply just going to the gym and giving all of the machines a good crack.
This month we are going to focus on motivation. Motivation is probably the one thing that is stopping you from becoming a fitness god or goddess and we all struggle with it.
Having enough energy at the end of the day is one of the main things that will lead you to actually go on that run or go to the gym. Sounds simple but if you don’t have the energy, you won’t do it. Therefore, tip number one is to drink lots of water during the day and to keep yourself hydrated.
It is no secret that water accounts for approximately 60% of our body weight and water is required by every single of of our organs to function properly. This means that if your body isn’t getting enough water then your organs will start to slow down, leaving you feeling tired and sluggish.
One way in which you can ensure that you are drinking enough water is by carrying a 500ml bottle of water around with you all day and filling it up as and when you need to. This way you can keep track of exactly how many litres of water you have drunk already and how many more you need to drink to reach your daily limit.
The NHS advises that we should be drinking around 1-2 litres a day. However, if you are riding just one horse you will need more water than somebody who rides none so bare this in mind.
Of course everybody is different so everybody will need different amounts of water everyday however if you can stick to the average of 2 litres a day and then drink more according to how much exercise you do, you will feel more energetic and ready to get fit and ready to ride.
Planning is a big part of keeping fit. If you can plan what you are doing every day and when you are doing it then you have no excuse of ‘I don’t have time’. Plan which days you are going to rest and which days you are going to run or go to the gym. This way you are ready and prepared to do your exercise and you will be mentally prepared to do it.
Another way to motivate yourself to get fit is to set alarms on your phone to keep reminding you to exercise. If you are constantly being reminded to exercise it will stick in your head and will make you want to do it. It will make you feel bad for not doing it if you are ignoring the alarms every day.
I recommend setting three alarms a day, one in the morning, one at lunch time and one in the evening. This means that you will be told 3 times a day to exercise and eventually it will sink in.
Another way which can help you get motivated to be fit and workout is by writing down all of your goals and keeping a fitness diary. Write down at the start of each month or week what you want to achieve, whether that be to complete however many minutes in sitting trot or to be able to plank for double what you already can.
The fear of failure and not achieving the goals that you have set will motivate you to workout. For example, if you want to achieve the ability to do sitting trot for however many minutes, you will be motivated to improve your core strength. Writing down what exercises you have done each day is also a really helpful tool in improving your fitness.
The final thing is rewarding yourself. It is extremely important to reward yourself for exercising and giving yourself ample rest time. You don’t want to overdo it and then be in so much pain the next few days that you actually demotivate yourself to not exercise. Just do what your body is capable of doing and gradually increase the amount of exercise you are doing.
I love eating nice meals so I will reward myself with a night out at a restaurant with my friends at the end of the week if I have done all of the workouts and exercise that I had planned. Finding something that you really enjoy and rewarding yourself with it at the end of the week or month is a really good way to keep yourself motivated.
Until next month …… Georgia x