By Patty Wilber
I might have a few parts that are a bit on the worn side.
The soccerized knees. The shoulders that have been yanked by horses on the lunge line or that have broken a fall or two. The stiffening back.
Geez! The creak of age!
As one gets older, muscles tend to change from the larger, bulker white fast-twitch muscle type II to red slow twitch fibers type I that are more suited to endurance.
In one study of pectoral muscle in women, after age 40, the the fast (type II) muscles decreased in size, but not number. After 60, there were significantly fewer type II fibers. Those fibers are associated with bursts of strength.
Total volume of type I muscle fibers did not change with age. However, those red fibers were fewer in number, but larger.
As one gets older, sometimes people stop moving various parts and those parts get stiffer and stiffer.
Exercise may (or may not) not be able to affect the change in muscle fiber composition as one ages, but it can definitely improve muscle strength and flexibility of the body.
(I ran out of time to research this properly because I only thought of this at 7 am this morning–and the blog was already posted….)
Still, this is true in part: Use it or lose it!
Fortunately, my friend Mary Ann S. keeps extolling the virtues of yoga and another friend Linda S. decided to become a yoga instructor.
Unfortunately, my work schedule at the college keeps me from getting to Linda’s classes (M-F 8:30 am Edgewood Fitness Center) most days (But I am going today!).
Fortunately, Linda, Mary Ann and my body parts inspired me to improve my fitness through yoga and the Internet and YouTube have PLENTY of videos to help me (and I roped Jim into participating!).
Riding multiple horses per day is not a terrible health program, but Yoga promotes flexibility, balance and strength that definitely can add to my riding fitness.
We had to start out easy, so we did some 15 minute videos, free, on YouTube. Then Jim found a 15 minute beginner yoga 30 day challenge from Lesley Fightmaster.
We are on day 24! We are really enjoying them.
But there was some misleading info. The sessions have lengthened and some are 30 minutes long!
When we finish this one, we will probably begin another series!
I don’t know that I need to get horseback riding specific, but, of course there is Yoga for Equestrians!
And Yoga for Strength, and Flexibility and Peace of Mind, and Balance, and Stress!
We won’t run out of videos any time soon!