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J Aging Phys Act. 2015 Jan;23(1):78-89. doi: 10.1123/japa.2012-0326. Epub 2014 Jan 14.

Comparative effects of horse exercise versus traditional exercise programs on gait, muscle strength, and body balance in healthy older adults.

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1
School of Health and Sports Science, Universitat de Girona, Girona, Spain.

Abstract

This study evaluates the separate effect and retention of 12-week traditional (TE) and horse (HE) exercise programs on physical function in healthy older participants (61 to 87 years old). Thirty-eight participants were randomly assigned to three groups: TE (n = 17), HE (n = 10), and control group (n = 11). TE and HE underwent a supervised exercise program (3 day/week). Maximal gait speed, muscle strength, and body balance were assessed at weeks 0, 12, and 16. Only TE and HE displayed significant improvements (P < .05) in knee extensor strength, and only HE had faster gait speed. Marginal balance improvements were found only in HE in the medial-lateral direction. However, TE showed larger improvements in handgrip than HE. The largest retention was in knee extensor strength but most of the exercise effects were lost in the follow-up. Besides TE, exercise with a horse may be an alternative option to older adults, provided that they want to interact with the animal.

PMID:
24425454
DOI:
10.1123/japa.2012-0326
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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