Friday Fitness Tip: Rest

This week’s Friday Fitness Tip goes for horses and riders! Rest is a very important element to fitness for the horse and rider alike. Rest is how our muscles recover, and how our brains recharge.

In this busy, fast-paced society we live in, the need for rest is often overlooked. Now, I am not talking about the number of hours we sleep each night; for we all know know that we need at least seven to eight hours a night. I am referring to the need for mental rest and relaxation, as well as physical rest to recover from tough workouts. I don’t know about you, but I often feel so much pressure to be “on” all the time. There are always things to be done, people to see, places to go, errands to run, housework to do, and on and on and on. There is this expectation that if we are not crazy busy, we are not doing enough. Taking some time during the day, or week, to simply be still and unwind is “lazy.” I am not saying that we should all take a nap every day, and veg out in front of the TV every evening. Not at all! But we do need time decompress. Rest can be active though. Rest can be going on a walk instead of doing your regular high intensity workout. Rest can be doing a meditation instead of your dynamic yoga practice. Rest can be simply sitting in a quiet place for a few moments.

Yesterday, my energy was very low all day. So rather than doing my run, or a dynamic yoga practice, I did “Relax” for Beachbody’s Three Week Yoga Retreat. It was just what I needed. Listening to our bodies, is so important. I am not always good at stopping, I have found that when I don’t slow down when my body tells me to, it is only a matter of time before it forces me to. I will end up sick, stressed, or just feeling downright lousy. I also try to take one day a week (or every other week) to essentially do nothing. Sometimes we need to just be.

As I said, our horses need rest too. They are athletes too after all! Their muscles need to recover, and their minds need to unwind. I give Chance two days off a week, sometimes three during the summer – or when he has worked really hard. I also do not ride him hard every day. Some days are just light hacks, or light hacks and a jump or two. I find that most hunters do well with several days of work a week, with only one or two of those days being longer rides with coursework.

I plan on getting a lot of rest this weekend! Although I plan on running since I am training for a race, I want to also unwind! Chance is getting today and Sunday off to be a horse (eat and play in the pasture). Are you going to have a restful weekend, as well?


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