This week I was talking to someone about listening to music whilst riding.
It serves a couple of different purposes for me and depending on the purpose depends on the kind of music I have on.
One of the main reasons I listen to music it that it helps me to breathe. I can be quite a nervous rider, which means I tense up and don’t breathe! This translates to my hips creeping my leg up, my hands get rigid and guess what…….my pony gets tense and I essentially create the scenario I was imagining in my head!
However the very act of singing forces you to breathe and secondly if you do it properly (a good ballad will ensure this) you will activate your Diaphragm which will enable you to release your hips-without even thinking about your hips you’ll just be singing your best Whitney.
Your Diaphragm is a muscle that sits under your ribs attaching both there and to your lower spine. As you breathe in this muscle should drop down to allow more air in, however if we are shallow breathing into our chest it won’t do this.
The shallow breathing can make us tense, as activating the Diaphragm also activates the Vagus Nerve which sends a message to our brain to relax. So, if it’s not activated our bain thinks their is a reason to be stressed.
Secondly, the Diaphragm attaches on on our lower spine at the same point as our Psoas muscle, which is the hip flexor at the front of our thigh. If the Diaphragm is pulled up into the rib cage it is also pulling the Psoas up-which is bringing your knee up and causing tension in your seat.
So, activating the Diaphragm encourages both relaxation of the brain and the hips in one go-both needed for effective riding.
So, back to the signing. If you suffer with nerves, you just forget to breathe or you have “tight” hips try singing when you ride (yes you will look crazy but it doesn’t need to be that load to be effective). To really use your Diaphragm I recommend a good ballad as to even sing it a little bit forces you to activate.
Personal recommendations are:
Amazed - Lonestar
Iris - The Goo Goo Dolls
All or Nothing-O Town
And something easy on the big notes but it has calmed me down enough with it’s signing rhythm so it doesn’t feel right not to include it…
Niall Horan-Slow Hands
As you can see from those selections I’m incredibly hip with my music tastes….
Have you got any songs that you would add to this list? Let me know and we could create a Diaphragm Breathing Playlist!