Falls are a major public health concern among older adults, and most occur while walking, especially under dualtask conditions. Jaques-Dalcroze eurhythmics (JDE) is a music-based movement training program that emphasizes multitask coordinated movement. A previous 6-mo JDE study in older people demonstrated improved gait and balance; however, the effects of short-term JDE interventions on fall risk-related outcomes are largely unknown. We conducted a preliminary investigation on whether a 9-week JDE intervention improved gait and stability in a community-dwelling older cohort, hypothesizing that improvements would occur in all outcome measures.
Nine participants (78.9 ± 12.3 y) completed the supervised JDE intervention (once/week for 60 min). Gait speed was determined by the 6-m timed walk test (6MTW); dual-task gait speed was determined by another 6MTW while counting backward from 50 aloud; and coordinated stability was assessed using a Swaymeter-like device.
Gait speed (0.92 ± 0.11 vs 1.04 ± 0.12 m/sec, P = .04) and dual-task gait speed (0.77 ± 0.09 vs 0.92 ± 0.11 m/sec, P = .0005) significantly improved.
This novel intervention is an effective short-term physical activity option for those that plan physical activity or fall-risk reduction programs for the older people.
Ferguson-Stegall, Vang, and Wolfe are with the Dept of Biology, Integrative Physiology Laboratory; Thomsen is with the Dept of Music; Hamline University, Saint Paul, MN.