Influence of Different Dual-Task Conditions During Straight or Curved Walking on Gait Performance of Physically Active Older Women With Cognitive Decline

in Journal of Aging and Physical Activity
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  • 1 Postgraduate Program in Rehabilitation Sciences, Federal University of Health Sciences of Porto Alegre, Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
  • | 2 School of Health and Life Sciences, Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
  • | 3 School of Physiotherapy, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
  • | 4 Department of Physiotherapy, Federal University of Health Sciences of Porto Alegre, Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
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Real-world walking requires shifting attention from different cognitive demands to adapt gait. This study aims to evaluate the effect of dual tasking on spatiotemporal gait parameters of older adults. Participants were asked to perform a primary complex single-walking task, consisting of a fast-paced linear and a curved gait. Primary task was performed separately and simultaneously with different motor and cognitive secondary tasks. Spatiotemporal gait parameters, walk ratio, and walk stability ratio were measured. Apart from stride length, which stood relatively unchanged, gait speed and cadence were strongly affected by cognitive dual tasking. Cadence seems to be the most impacted by dual tasking during curved gait as it combines challenges of both primary and secondary tasks. Also, during curved phase, walking ratio was significantly lower and stability ratio was greater demonstrating that participants adopted a cautious gait where maintenance of stability took preference over efficiency.

Stigger (stigger@ufcspa.edu.br) is corresponding author, 0000-0003-0901-310X.

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