Rider Wellness: You Can Get Physically Fit this Year!

Home » Blog » Articles » Rider Wellness

Make a Habit of Moving Your Body

It’s a new year and the holidays are over. Like many others, you’ve decided it’s time to get in shape or return to your pre-holiday routine. Despite good intentions, many people find it hard to stick to their new plan or get back to their old exercise routine when the days are short and it’s downright dreary outside. But it’s essential for our health and well-being to get regular exercise no matter what the weather is like. And now that the holidays are over there’s no more excuses! 

Here are some tips to get you moving your body and staying with the habit through the winter months (and beyond). 

Set a goal — What goals do you have for your health and well-being for this new year? Write them down. Be specific and realistic in the goals you set. What action steps will you have to take? Write those down too. Read them each day. Write a contract for yourself to stick with the plan. 

Put it on the calendar — This is part of the action steps in your written plan. You’re more likely to do it if you put it on the calendar. Make it part of your list of things to do. Keep an exercise journal and track the progress you’re making. You can always take some before and after pictures as well to see the progress you’ve made. 

Find a buddy — No matter what, I’m going to exercise. It’s just who I am. However, I like having a workout buddy. When you set a date to meet with someone else, you’re more likely to stick to the plan. Maybe the goal is a yoga class or a brisk walk. It doesn’t have to be in a gym, but whatever you choose, an accountability buddy can make the experience more fun. 

Fitness indoors — No need to purchase expensive equipment. Walk the mall, buy an online fitness course (there are so many more of them since Covid!), go to the gym, or pull out the old workout videos you stashed when streaming became a thing. Start with just 15 minutes, let yourself have fun, and I’ll bet you’ll find yourself doing it longer. 

Fitness outdoors — When the sun is out and the rains have stopped, it’s much easier to get outside. However, if you live where I live, you’ve got to make the most of rain gear, or you won’t go out. No matter what the weather, dress for the climate. Layers are important. Pocket warmers can help, and so can foot warmers. Exercise doesn’t have to be boring. You can make it fun. Below is a list of activities to try. 

  • Brisk walking (you’ll stay warmer) 
  • Skiing (downhill or cross country) 
  • Snowboarding 
  • Snowshoeing 
  • Ice skating 
  • Sledding 
  • Winter hiking


It’s easy to make them. Here are some that get in the way: 

I don’t have time. We all have 24 hours in a day. Even 15 minutes is better than none. 

I’m too busy. Read the sentence above. What can you take off your plate? What can you delegate to others? I’ve taught clients to do squats while doing laundry. With each item you pick up, do a squat. Take one thing at a time out of the dryer and do a squat in between each item. When standing at the sink doing dishes or stirring food on the stove, do calf raises. You get the picture. 

My exercise partner can’t make it. Well, that happens and if it happens too often, get a different partner. 

It’s no fun. Then find something that is. It’s that simple, and sometimes it isn’t fun. That’s when it becomes genuinely about discipline. 

I’m not in shape to get into shape. Yes, I’ve heard this one before! It’s when someone has given up on themselves and is resigned to the idea that there’s no point in trying. I say, get up and start again. We only fail when we don’t make and effort. Let go of the word TRY and just do it! 

Although winter isn’t the easiest time to start an exercise routine, I know you can. Your body will thank you for it, and so will your horse because when you are stronger, you are better balanced, making it easier for your horse to do his job.

See this article in the January/February 2023 online edition:

January/February 2023

Check out these other articles:



Thank you for supporting the businesses that support The Northwest Horse Source

This content sponsored by:
This content sponsored by:
This content sponsored by:

Join the conversation:

Select a list(s):

Check out the Magazine!

The Northwest Horse Source Magazine