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Effects of a single equestrian exercise on spinal alignment and isokinetic moments of thighs and trunk

Sihwa Park, Sunhee Park, Yong-Seok Jee


Aim: Horseback riding can relieve chronic hypokinesia by utilizing unused muscles and joints to promote functional recovery through nerve stimulation. However, there has been no investigation on the effects of equine exercise on spinal alignment. Therefore, this study analyzed the spinal alignment in subjects between the ages of 25-30 (new standard age group) through a three-dimensional body measuring device, and to investigate the myofunctional changes in the hips and lumbar joints after a single bout of equestrian exercise.

Materials and methods: Fifty-eight participants were divided into one of two groups: male group (n=38) and female group (n=20). They were asked to complete a self-assessed questionnaire and were given a body composition test, a three-dimensional imaging scan, and isokinetic torque tests before and after 20 minutes of horseback riding.

Results: First, the hip flexor of the dominant and non-dominant sides in both groups improved significantly after a single 20-minute bout of equestrian exercise. Second, the female group showed a significant change in the hip abductor and adductor. Third, the equestrian exercise significantly increased peak torque (PT) in all the variables and work per repetition (WR) in the trunk flexor and extensor in the male group, whereas it significantly increased the PT of trunk extensor in the female group. Lastly, the kyphotic angle was significantly (P = 0.005) increased in the female group, whereas the lordotic angle was significantly (P = 0.007) increased in the male group.

Conclusion: A single 20-minute equestrian exercise session provides a positive change for men and women. Particularly, it is more helpful for women with lower myofunction in the lower limb compared with men. Horseback riding can increase the hip flexors and abductors of the non-dominant lower limb and improve the trunk flexor and extensor for better spinal alignment.

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