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Horse riding simulator is a machine that imitates trunk and pelvic movements of the horse during walking. This is created as a surrogate horse riding function and used in a rehabilitation program due to many limitations from the real horse. Previous researches have reported that horse riding simulator training helps improve balance and trunk muscles strength. However, a lack of study has reported how the trunk muscle normally work during riding a machine. It is interesting to study and find out an important information which can be applied in the clinical practice. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate the trunk muscle activity including rectus abdominis (RA), erector spinae (ES), and external abdominal oblique (EO) muscles during riding a horse simulator in healthy adults. Ten participants (mean age 21-23 years) were attached with surface electromyography (EMG) electrodes at RA, ES, and EO of both sides. EMG of these muscles was recorded while sitting astride on a horse simulator saddle in static and moving conditions. The result demonstrated significant increases of EMG on both ES and left EO during horse simulator riding (left ES:
z=-2.09, p=0.02; right ES: z=-1.68, p=0.04; left EO: z=-2.09, p=0.02). Right EO tended to gain activity with no significant difference. No change in RA activation as well.
In conclusion, horse riding simulator can increase the activation of some trunk muscles that relate to balance control. These enhancements together with frequent exercises with horse simulator machine might lead to overall improvement in postural control and strengthening of the trunk muscles.
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