The practice of horse riding, whether high-performance or just for a short ride, has countless health and psychological benefits: It is a cardiovascular exercise, calories are burned, it tones the muscles of the abdomen, back, and legs, and also improves breathing capacity. However, you should not forget about your pelvic floor whether you are a man or a woman.
To take care of it, first of all, we need to know:
What is the pelvic floor?
The pelvic floor is a set of muscles and ligaments that close the abdominal cavity in its lower part. Its function is to hold the pelvic organs (bladder and urethra, uterus and vagina; and rectum) in the proper position because their normal functioning depends on it.
A weakened pelvic floor can cause urinary incontinence, discomfort, prolapse (loss of intra-abdominal organs), back pain, and even sexual dysfunction. If you have any of these symptoms, consult your doctor to assess the state of your pelvic muscles.
Most riders are unaware that some high-impact exercises can damage these muscles. The impacts due to the movement of the trot and gallop of the horse can expose the pelvic floor to increased pressure.
When direct compression occurs in the lower pelvic area, it can alter the nerves in the area (pudendal) and blood vessels. For this reason, when not receiving the correct irrigation, discomfort occurs.
Therefore, to avoid these future problems, it is important to follow these tips:
Make sure you are riding with a correct seat
It is very important to avoid shifting the position so the pressure with the saddle is correctly placed and balanced.
Start with a smooth routine
If you are just starting in the world of horse riding, start with simple rides and avoid long intense impacts. Also, if you have abdominal problems, it is better to start with easy hacks in nature and increase the intensity slowly.
If you have just given birth it is important to wait two months to ride again. The muscles until then will be weak, so this period should be used to rehabilitate them. On the other hand, if you have had surgery in the perineal area, it is advisable to avoid riding until the muscles have fully recovered.
Perform complementary exercises to horseback riding
A good option is to combine horse riding practice with Kegel exercises to avoid possible discomfort and keep the pelvic floor toned. This routine consists of contracting the pelvic floor muscles up and in for a few seconds to strengthen and tone the pelvic floor.
You can find these exercises detailed in our blog.
Use padded underwear
Padded underwear will reduce and dispel the pressure in the intimate area in contact with the saddle. It will also absorb accidental drops and keep the leakages at bay in case of urinary incontinence.
Take care of your pelvic floor and keep on riding!
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Disclaimer: Please note that the information in this document is of general nature. It is not intended to, and cannot substitute for a medical consultation.