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7 Amazing Health Benefits of Playing Polo.

Last updated: May 3, 2023

By: Miles HenryFact Checked

What was once an exclusive sport for the rich, horse polo, is now accessible to the average person. But why should anyone want to get involved in the sport in the first place? This article highlights several essential health benefits of playing polo.

Playing polo has many benefits; aside from obviously burning calories, polo is a team-based sport that grows team play, and coordination, builds core muscles, enhances the ability to strategize, gets you outdoors, and, above all, is a lot of fun.

Polo is a game played on horseback with a wooden stick and a ball. The activity burns plenty of calories as players rush their horses on the field to take control of the ball and score points against opponents – which takes a lot of skill and effort. To learn more about how polo can impact your life, check out these excellent health benefits.   

7 Amazing Health Benefits of Polo

picture of people playing polo,

Polo was initially played by Persians as a way to train for war. Today, polo is enjoyed by people of all ages and backgrounds. In addition to being a fun and exciting horseback game, there are many health benefits associated with playing polo.

1.   Polo Improves Hand-eye Coordination.

Polo is a combination of horseback riding and hitting a ball with long bamboo sticks. It has tremendous health benefits, particularly in improving hand-eye coordination, which players must enhance as they learn to balance on top of a horse while constantly reaching out to hit the ball.

With one hand holding the reigns and the other used to play, polo also dramatically increases upper body strength, among other benefits.

2.   Polo Teaches You To Strategize Against Your Opponents.

Somebody once described horse polo as “high stakes chess for the adrenaline junkie,” which is reasonably accurate. When out on the pitch, players learn to anticipate their opponent’s moves, influence the positions they take and be ready to exploit opportunities when they do occur.

It takes time to learn, but eventually, you will be able to ”read” the pitch like a pro; and the best part is, learning about strategy will build skills that translate into ordinary life.

3.   Polo Improves Your Posture And Strengthens Your Back.

When playing polo, a rider stays balanced and reacts quickly to the horse’s movements to not lose balance. Riding horses exercises the back muscles, lower back, thighs, pelvis, and even shoulders.

Over time, playing polo improves your posture and builds your core muscles, making you more capable of withstanding strenuous workouts without significant risk of injury.

4.   Polo Is A Beautiful Activity For Weight Loss.

Although much of the activity comes from the horses running around the pitch, polo players can still burn a lot of calories whenever they play. A whole hour of polo-playing is equivalent to cycling or jogging for half an hour in terms of the number of calories you burn. The more intense the game is, the more calories you burn. So get out there and start riding!

5.   Spend Time Outdoors!

Polo is a sport that gets you involved in training and taking care of your horse, which at the very least means stabling, bathing, grooming, and feeding your horse. All this activity will cause you to spend hours outdoors, which ultimately will improve your physical and mental health.

Research has shown that spending time around animals reduces human stress levels and improves the immune system, among other things.

picture of a woman hitting the ball during a polo match,
Image by Darrel Collins of Pixabay

6.   Polo Will Boost Your Confidence.

There are mental and emotional benefits to playing polo. For starters, it takes care and trusts to develop a relationship with your horse; and as you will find, the feeling that comes with it is gratifying. Also, the training you perform every time you go out to play will result in excellent performances on the field and a confidence boost that everyone can appreciate.

Watch as you learn and improve your skills and training. It will enhance the way you carry yourself outside the field and lead to success in other areas of your life.

7.   You Will Meet Lots Of Interesting People.

Getting involved in polo will lead you to meet and build friendships with people you probably wouldn’t encounter outside of the sport. Remember, this is a team sport, and many people who come out to play are friends and families.

There is a lot of camaraderie and passion in the game, and you will have a great time chatting, playing, and meeting interesting people from different parts of the world who are drawn together by their love of polo.

In Closing

Polo gives you an adrenaline rush that you don’t get with a lot of sporting activities. The speed with which the game is played and the challenge of outsmarting the opponents is something that will get your blood pumping and release all the feel-good hormones you didn’t know you needed.

Like any extreme other sport, it takes time and effort to play safely. Still, once you get through the initial anxiety and allow yourself to enjoy it, you will find that playing strengthens your body and helps build a firmer, more toned body; plus, it puts you in a better place mentally and emotionally.

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1.   What Are The Benefits Of Playing Horse Polo?

Polo training improves a rider’s hand-eye coordination as they learn to strike the ball at awkward angles while controlling the horse with the other hand. It is a taxing form of exercise that improves cardiovascular health, lung capacity, upper body strength, and arm and shoulder strength.

2.   Does Horse Riding Have Any Benefits?

Horse riding improves balance and coordination while encouraging a friendship between the horse and rider, both of which are beneficial to a player. The main benefits of horse riding are stress relief, improved concentration, and increased energy levels.
Horse riding is helpful to people experiencing anxiety, depression, antisocial disorders, and low self-esteem.

3.   Is Polo A Real Sport?

Polo is indeed a sport played on amateur and professional levels by men and women of all ages. It is commonly played on weekends as an equine sport when friends and families gather together at a polo club or indoor arena to compete against each other for the highest points.
On a professional level, polo doesn’t have the same financial appeal as many other popular sports today, but fans of the sport have a great passion for polo.

4.   Is Coordination Essential For Playing Polo?

Coordination is one of the most critical aspects of polo; without it, a player would not last long on the field. Without proper coordination, it would be far more challenging to move the ball toward an opponent’s goalpost while sustaining speeds of up to 35mph.  

5.   How Old Do I Have To Be To Play Polo?

Children who come from polo-playing families learn to ride horses relatively young; however, to play polo, one must hold and swing a mallet comfortably while staying balanced on a horse. Also, players must have some knowledge of neck reigning, speed, and turning. With more miniature ponies, fit players can begin polo at a young age.  

6.   Can I Get Injured Playing Polo?

There is a slight risk of injury, particularly for amateurs when playing polo; however, the risk is reduced when players stick to the rules and avoid taking severe risks like charging directly at opponents or colliding at high speeds.
Polo injuries are mild unless played under extreme conditions, in which case a fall could break bones. To learn more about the dangers of playing polo, check out this article: Is Playing Polo Dangerous? 5 Keys to Reduce Risks of Injury.


  1. Featured image by Darrel Collins of Pixabay
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