The Power of Fitness

The-Power-of-Fitness

Whether horse or human, being fit has many benefits.

The biggest reason for this is the physiological changes that the body experiences as a result of becoming conditioned and fit from a Proper exercise program.

The word Proper must go in front of everything we do. So Proper exercise enhances health and soundness, whereas Improper exercise can actually do damage.

Here is a list of the physiological changes that horses experiences as a result of becoming conditioned and fit from a Proper exercise program.

1. The muscles increase in size and strength, and body fat decreases.

Active muscles are excellent for dealing with food energy, both fat and sugar. Sedentary muscles are less able to absorb glucose, so there is a higher risk of Cushings and founder in horses.

During exercise the blood vessels in the muscle dilate, letting in more oxygen. With regular exercise the ability of the blood vessels to open up is dramatically improved. The tissues themselves change, with an increase in the number of mitochondria in each cell, which are the powerhouses of the cell.

Exercise also stimulates the body to produce more antioxidants to mop up free radicals.

2. The heart is also a muscle so it becomes stronger as well.

The more fit a body is, the less hard the heart has to work. By the same token, the less fit a body is, the harder the heart has to work.

Because exercise strengthens the heart, and therefore improves its ability to pump blood, it can deliver more oxygen to the cells which also improves the removal of waste products (toxins).

During exercise the heart expands more and contracts more so the amount of blood pumped out increases. With regular exercise, the heart gets larger and its wall gets thicker and stronger.

3. Tendons and ligaments become stronger.

Ligaments connect bone to bone and stabilize the joints. The stronger the ligaments, the stronger and more resistant to injury the joints become. Tendons connect muscles to bone. Strong tendons contribute to overall strength and protection from injuries such as muscle strains.

4. Bone density increases.

This makes the bones thicker, stronger and more resistant to injury. Years ago I used to hear cowboys refer to a horse who was fit and conditioned and ready for hard work as being “boned up”.

5. Improves lung function and respiratory health.

During exercise, the body breathes faster and deeper which assists the lungs in cleaning out stale dead air and mucus, both of which are the perfect environment for bacteria to thrive. This greatly reduces their risk of respiratory infections/disease.

6. The body becomes more flexible.

A flexible body is less likely to suffer torn muscles, tendons or ligaments.

7. Exercise bolsters the immune system.

8. Exercise makes the body produce endorphins, which creates a sense of wellbeing.

9. Regular Proper exercise especially benefits hot horses.

The controlled, extended activity uses up energy while consistent, steady rhythm relaxes them.

10. Last but not least, it feels darn good to be fit and conditioned!

The following photo is Sweetie, taken in the winter. In the winter, I ride just enough to keep the horses from completely losing their fitness and conditioning so I don’t have to start completely from scratch in the spring. Plus being at least a little fit is healthier for them than not being fit at all.

Strong-Topline (2)

The following photo is Sweetie, taken in the summer. Spring, summer and fall the horses are ridden enough to be quite fit.

Strong-Topline (1)

 

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Edition #006 – Friday Dec 15 2017

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Edition #005 – Friday Dec 08 2017

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Edition #004 – Friday Dec 01 2017

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Edition #003 – Friday Nov 24 2017

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