Of Horse

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Keeping Yourself Fit as a Free-Running Foal
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Keeping Yourself Fit as a Free-Running Foal

Horse owners, ranch hands and even occasional riders need the strength and stamina to keep up with their equine companions. Taking care of your personal health enables you to be a better caretaker for your horses. Staying active, paying attention to your personal health and getting enough sleep should enable you to keep up with your horses, no matter what age they are.

Get Enough Sleep

While the phrase "sleeping like a horse" may not be a common cliche, the way that horses sleep might give us some insight into how to keep ourselves fit as a newborn stallion. Horses enter into different phases of sleep throughout the day. They are often found to be dozing with only a short time of their sleep cycle spent in the deep sleep phase that we refer to as the rapid-eye movement phase (aka REM sleep). REM sleep is typically when the dream state occurs in humans.

Modeling our sleep patterns after horses by partaking in more short doses of rest could help boost our productivity and overall health. However, napping is not helpful to everybody. If you are the type of person who wakes up from a nap feeling disoriented and groggy, perhaps a longer night’s rest could be a better option. Although horses have very similar sleep cycles to their owners, it may be to your benefit to alternatively sleep in past sunrise, particularly on the weekends. The more rested you are, the more prepared you will be to take on the day ahead of you.

Move Naturally

You almost never see a horse lift dumbbells or attend a crossfit class. They keep themselves fit by moving naturally and doing so routinely in the outdoors. Horses also have the benefit of not being addicted to smartphone screens and video games. Follow your horse’s example and get outside to exercise on a committed regular schedule. It will help you to disassociate your time working outdoors as a chore when it comes to caring for your horses and avoid occupational burnout.

According to a recent study at Ohio University, “individuals who exercised outdoors experienced greater feelings of revitalization, had increased energy, and reduced tension, confusion, anger and depression.” Incorporate gardening, dog walking, or a day hike with the family into your weekly routine to absorb the multitudinous benefits of fresh air and sunshine that the outdoors has to offer. Moving naturally in the outdoors will cause less stress on your joints than repetitive, strenuous exercise, such as running and weightlifting.

Befriend Your Doctor

Knowing how to best care for yourself may require a trip to your doctor for an updated physical exam. Much like tending to your horses needs as symptoms arise, your doctor can only do so if you pay them a visit. Perhaps you have been having a problem with restless leg syndrome during your sleep that could be fixed with better nutrition, such as increasing your iron intake in some cases.

Keeping up to date with routine visits and vaccinations can help you to maintain a quality of health that will have you keeping up with your horses on any given day. For example, don’t delay getting your flu shot when the colder weather begins to come around. The sooner you are vaccinated, the better chances you have of avoiding the virus.

It is easy to let our personal health get put on the backburner when caring for our horses and meeting other life demands. However, we are of little to no use to those that rely on us if we fall ill or get hurt. Maintaining a fit and healthy lifestyle is the best way to prevent yourself from potential illness and to keep yourself strong throughout your lifetime.

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