Q: I ride once a week at my local barn, and the next day my legs are quite sore. Are there any exercises that will prevent soreness after a ride?
A: When you have a spare minute at home, slip on your sneakers and try some heel stretches to strengthen the muscles in your lower legs.
Stand on a low step—hold on to the rail to keep your balance—facing backward with your toes and the balls of your feet on the step. Then, lower your heels down as far as you can, flexing at the ankle. Slowly lift your heels by putting pressure on the balls of your feet until you are standing on your toes. Repeat this exercise eight to 10 times.
It’s also helpful to do some squats every day. Bend your knees forward while allowing your hips to bend back. Keep your back straight and your knees and toes turned out slightly. Lower your body until your thighs are almost parallel to the floor, and then slowly return to your starting position.
Repeat this exercise eight to 10 times.
This article originally appeared in the September/October 2014 issue of Young Rider magazine. Click here to subscribe!