Sunday, May 23, 2010

Step it up

So at work there is this fitness contest thing where groups of people are signing up in teams for weight loss, healthy eating, pedometer steps, stuff like that. So just for fun I signed up and got myself a pedometer.

Now you're only supposed to walk with it, and most sources say that it won't be accurate for anything other than walking. However, I decided to wear it riding just to see how many steps the pedometer said that I took.

I got on Albert, and timed my ride from start to finish. I only rode for 20 minutes, and did walk, trot and canter. Then I checked my steps. I did about 2400 steps.

Then I wanted to know how many calories I had burned riding. I found a website where you could find out how many calories you personally burned for each step you took. It's different for each person becasue your height, weight, stride, etc all play a part in how many calories you burn. So to personalize it you had to walk a mile, and time yourself, a plug it all into a formula. Blah. Too much work!

So instead I checked out another web site (I know, not the most reliable sources here, but this is just for fun) where it said that the average person burns about 0.04 calories per step. So, at 2400 "steps" while riding, I burned 96 calories.

To check this, I went to, yet another web site (here) where you could put in how many minutes of an activity you did and see how many calories you burned. There were slots for horseback riding at the walk, trot and canter (well it said galloping, really). I just entered 20 minutes trotting and came up with 112 calories. When I broke it down with 5 minutes of walk, 5 minutes of canter, and ten minutes of trot it came to 101 calories.

I played around a little with the calculator, and it seems that 20 minutes of galloping burns more calories (140) than 20 minutes of trotting (112). I'm not sure I really agree with this estimation. I think that trotting, and especially posting trot, burns more calories than cantering. However if you're really talking about galloping, like on a race track or even in a field, I'll bet you would burn more calories. But I'm not really sure that's what they were getting at.

Based on the website calculator, whether completely accurate or not, it seems like riding for 20 minutes will burn about 100 calories. And the steps that the pedometer said I took while riding for 20 minutes translated to about 100 calories (based on the average person's calories burned per step).

So I would say that the pedometer, for me, was pretty accurate while riding a horse. Has anyone else tried this? I know you can get pedometers for your horse to wear to measure miles ridden, but I'm talking about the rider wearing one.

Anyhow, I've decided I'm going to wear my pedometer when I ride, and report those steps. I think every one of those steps is well earned! And it's exercise that I enjoy and actually accomplish, and I think that's the whole point.


Rising Rainbow said...

I think I probably agree with more calories at the gallop based on how my body reacts to riding "baby" horses. I can do a lot more trotting but their canter wears me out quickly. Too much cantering and it's nap time for my old body. LOL

Sabine said...

Hi Sheri,
A lady at our barn wears on from time to time. She does wear it when riding her horse, and believe me, with that horse it's well deserved! (Probably should count double!!)

Lora said...

I'm just wonder if temperature is a factor in there. In summer I have to really push my horse for anything, in winter, I'm just trying to stay on and hopefully get something done. (love them arabs.) but my degree of effort changes in temperatures, I would think calories burned might also change. (no proof! just a theory)

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