As an Equestrian life can be pretty full on; yard jobs, riding, work, family etc all take time and energy. So much so that feeling constantly tired seems to be an accepted norm.
Yet, there are some people who seem to have boundless energy and possibly even thrive on this constant busyness.
From my experience of working with people from lot’s of different walks of life I’ve noticed some familiar patterns in those that seem to cram in an abundance of things into their life whilst still having the energy to sustain it long term.
They nail the basics.
That means they eat well, exercise and make switching off and getting enough sleep a priority.
Eating a diet filled with good quality protein, fruit and vegetables along with good hydration has a huge impact on your energy levels day to day and how your body feels in general. It doesn’t have to be elaborate or complicated but making the effort to have proper nutritious meals throughout the day and drinking more water instead of surviving on caffeine and mars bars will not only improve your energy levels but will also improve your body’s ability to perform and repair-read ride better and injure less!
If I’m not going to have time to sit and eat I use protein shakes and fruit to get me through a day. Otherwise it’s porridge or granola, maybe a salad or soup at lunch then salmon or chicken with vegetables or rice in the evening. I take hydration tablets in my water and I have herbal tea in place of caffeine from lunch time onwards.
I think it’s finally getting main stream that riders should exercise off horse to improve their performance on horse. However there are multiple other benefits to fitting exercise into your life. If your body is stronger it will find your every day tasks easier, meaning those yard jobs won’t seem such an effort. You will to move better so you won’t be feeling quite so stiff and achy all the time which again boosts your energy levels. Exercise can also boost your mental health, so when you’re having a tough horse day having another outlet can really help. I mix up strength training, with cardio and yoga preferring 5-6 30 minute workouts per week rather than 3-4 heavy sessions but it’s trial and error to find what works best for your body.
Rest can be an interesting topic to tackle with people, often what people can perceive as switching off isn’t really having the desired affect. So many people spend hours staring at a tv, whilst scrolling through a phone thinking that’s down time. The blue light from devices can disrupt our sleep patterns, often it means we struggle to go to sleep or if we do sleep we don’t get the deep REM sleep we need to fully recuperate. Aiming to get 5-6 hours of good quality sleep can be much more beneficial than 8-9 hours of restless sleep.
Switching off also doesn’t have to be just sitting down doing nothing. For me, taking the dogs for a walk clears my head, listening to a funny podcast – Buck off Banter …… So you could be combining the exercise and the switch off maybe with a Yoga session. You’ll find what works for you.
I have a wind down routine that involves listening to something light-hearted on my drive home to take my brain out of work mode, then putting my phone away as soon as I get in so I’m not tempted to scroll. (that’s why you get ignored if you’ve messaged me after 9pm!)Then I shower and go to bed, pretty much out like a light! If I skip some of this routine or maybe do something on my phone it’s definitely harder to get to sleep so the system works!
I think this can often sound like a lot to fit in, yet I can assure you the busiest people I know are doing this (myself included) and it’s what enables them to be on the go from 5am to 9pm every day without hitting burnout.
You don’t need to be quite so full on in your own life, but I guarantee if you start to nail the basics of nutrition, rest and exercise whatever the demands of your life they’ll start to feel a bit easier.