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Riding During Menopause: Unexpected Benefits and Insights

How Horse Riding Can Transform Your Menopause Experience: Unexpected Benefits and Insights

May 23, 20243 min read

"Discover How Horse Riding Can Transform Your Menopause Experience with Unexpected Benefits and Insights." - Dr. Sue Williams

Introduction:

Menopause, a significant phase in a woman’s life, typically occurs between the ages of 45 and 55 and is characterized by the cessation of menstrual cycles and a decline in estrogen levels. This transition can bring about various physical and psychological symptoms, including hot flashes, mood swings, anxiety, and depression. For women engaged in horse riding, these symptoms can significantly impact their performance and enjoyment of the sport. Recent articles and studies highlight both the challenges and potential benefits associated with horse riding during menopause.

Challenges Faced by Women Riders During Menopause:

Many women riders report a lack of awareness and understanding about how menopause affects their riding capabilities. Symptoms such as severe anxiety, mood swings, and physical discomfort can lead some to consider giving up their passion for horse riding. For instance, riders often experience decreased bone density, which is a critical concern given the high-risk nature of equestrian sports (Horse & Hound, 2023).

Physical symptoms such as joint pain, muscle tension, and fatigue are also common. These symptoms can be exacerbated by efforts to counteract weight gain through restrictive dieting, which may further diminish strength and recovery (Horse & Hound, 2023). Additionally, psychological symptoms like anxiety and loss of confidence can severely impact a rider’s ability to engage with their horses and enjoy the sport.

The Benefits of Horse Riding During Menopause:

Despite these challenges, horse riding offers numerous benefits that can help mitigate some menopausal symptoms. Horse riding provides excellent cardiovascular exercise, which can improve mood and reduce stress levels. The physical activity involved in riding helps in maintaining muscle tone, particularly in the abdomen and back, which is crucial for overall fitness and well-being (Menopause Now, 2023).

Moreover, horse riding can serve as a therapeutic activity. The bond between a rider and their horse can provide emotional support, reduce feelings of loneliness, and enhance overall mental health. The act of riding requires concentration and confidence, which can help combat depression and improve self-esteem (Menopause Now, 2023).

Support and Resources:

There are various resources and support systems available for menopausal women involved in horse riding. Websites like Balance Menopause and Menopause Support offer comprehensive information on managing menopausal symptoms, including the benefits of hormone replacement therapy (HRT). HRT has evolved significantly and is now available in plant-based forms, which are less controversial and more acceptable to many women (Horse & Hound, 2023).

Professional advice from healthcare providers is crucial. For instance, British Equestrian’s human physio and athlete health lead, Ashleigh Wallace, emphasizes the importance of a balanced diet rich in leafy greens, berries, high-quality proteins, and omega-3s. She also recommends off-horse high-intensity interval training to promote bone density and reduce inflammation (Horse & Hound, 2023).

Additionally, podcasts and online communities provide platforms for women to share their experiences and gain support. Notable resources include Dr. Louise Newson’s website and the Balance app, which offer symptom tracking and educational materials tailored for menopausal women.

Conclusion:

Navigating menopause while maintaining an active lifestyle in horse riding can be challenging but also rewarding. Awareness and education about menopause are essential for mitigating its impacts and empowering women to continue their passions. With the right support, dietary adjustments, and exercise routines, women can manage their symptoms effectively and maintain their involvement in equestrian activities.

For further information, readers are encouraged to visit resources such as Horse & Hound and Menopause Now, which provide detailed advice and support for menopausal women in the equestrian community.


blog author image

Sue Williams

Clinical Sport Hypnotherapist who specialises in working with Athletes across a broad spectrum of sports and disciplines.

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