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A-Young Lee, Sin-Ae Park, Young-Jin Moon and Ki-Cheol Son

The objective of this study was to analyze the kinematic and kinetic characteristics of eight horticultural activities (HAs): digging, raking, sowing seeds, transplanting plants, near-distance weeding, far-distance weeding, low-height harvesting, and high-height harvesting. Twenty-four male university students (average age, 23.4 ± 2.9 years) participated in this study. Balance and postural stability factors [e.g., center of mass (CoM), ground reaction force (GRF), and center of pressure (CoP)] and postural control strategy factors (e.g., joint angles, joint moment, and muscle activation of the trunk and lower limbs) were assessed using a three-dimensional (3D) motion analysis system, force platform, and surface electromyography. A total of eight HAs were distinguished in three motions: stepping, squatting, and stooping. In performing the eight HAs, CoM shifting occurred and balance of the subjects became unstable. These forced compensatory motor strategies to maintain balance by exertion of GRF from the two feet, movement of the CoP, and a combination of musculoskeletal system exercises of the lower limbs and trunk occurred. The kinematic and kinetic characteristics of lower limb motions were significantly different across the HAs (P = 0.05). The kinematic and kinetic characteristics of HAs were similar to those of the functional tasks during balance improvement training motions and activities of daily living. The current study provides useful reference data for developing a horticultural therapy program for balance improvement in patients who need physical rehabilitation.