Pediatric Physical Therapy

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Pediatric Physical Therapy:
doi: 10.1097/PEP.0b013e31825c1a7d
Research Article

Physiological Demands of Therapeutic Horseback Riding in Children With Moderate to Severe Motor Impairments: An Exploratory Study

Bongers, Bart C. MSc; Takken, Tim MSc, PhD

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Abstract

Purpose: To examine energy expenditure at rest and during a single therapeutic horseback riding (THR) session in children with moderate to severe motor impairments.

Methods: Heart rate (HR), oxygen uptake (

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O2), and minute ventilation (

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E) were measured continuously during a 10-minute rest period and during a typical THR session.

Results: Seven children (4 males, mean age 12.3 ± 3.5 years) completed the protocol. Significant increases from rest were seen for mean HR,

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O2,

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E, and energy expenditure. Based on

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O2, 43.3 ± 24.3% of the THR session consisted of sedentary, 44.4 ± 13.4% of light, and 12.3 ± 21.8% of moderate to vigorous activity intensity, with large interindividual differences.

Conclusions: The physiological demands of THR in children with moderate to severe motor impairments are moderate. However, considering the short duration of maintaining moderate to vigorous exercise activity during THR in combination with the low training frequency, group data indicate that it is unlikely that THR will improve cardiopulmonary fitness in these children.

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

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