Introduction Energy expenditure, enjoyment, and task difficulty were compared for exercise with a horse riding simulator (HRS) and real horseback riding (RHR), and analyzed according to riding speed and participant age. Methods The HRS and RHR groups comprised 19 and 18 young adults and 21 and 10 elderly subjects, respectively. A visual analog scale was used to measure perceived enjoyment and task difficulty, and pulmonary gas exchange was used to calculate oxygen uptake and metabolic equivalents (METs). Participants either rode the simulator on a treadmill or a real horse on a treadmill at various speeds for 15 min. Results Participants reported greater enjoyment from riding a real horse. There were no significant differences between groups in task difficulty, oxygen uptake, or METs. When the speed increased, the gait pattern elicited faster and more complex coordination, and significantly improved energy expenditure, enjoyment, and task difficulty. The elderly showed greater enjoyment and less task difficulty than young adults. Conclusions HRS and RHR provide low-level exercise intensity. The elderly reported greater enjoyment and less task difficulty than young adults for both HRS and RHR exercise. These results indicate that HRS might be a feasible substitute for RHR for the elderly, with comparable exercise effects at low intensity. Low-intensity exercise provided by HRS could also be a safe and appealing intervention for the elderly.
- Health promotion
- Horse riding exercise
- Horse riding simulator
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Complementary and alternative medicine