Balance and Mobility Training With or Without Simultaneous Cognitive Training Reduces Attention Demand But Does Not Improve Obstacle Clearance in Older Adults

in Motor Control
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  • 1 University of Ottawa
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The purpose of this study was to determine whether balance and mobility training (BMT) or balance and mobility plus cognitive training (BMT + C) would improve obstacle clearance and reaction time (RT); whether further improvements would be exposed in the BMT + C group relative to the BMT group; and whether possible improvements would be sustained at the follow-up. Healthy older adults were allocated to the BMT (n = 15; age: 70.2 ± 3.2), BMT + C (n = 14; age: 68.7 ± 5.5), or control group (n = 13; age: 66.7 ± 4.2). The BMT and BMT + C groups trained one-on-one, three times per week for 12 weeks on a balance obstacle course. The BMT + C group also completed cognitive training. Participants walked onto and over six obstacles of varying heights while completing no RT, simple RT, and choice RT tasks at baseline, posttraining, and at the 12-week follow-up. Both the BMT and BMT + C groups improved RT and maintained these improvements at the follow-up. No meaningful improvements in obstacle clearance emerged following training. Thus, dual-task balance training likely reduces attention demand.

Jehu and Lajoie are with the School of Human Kinetics, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Paquet is with the School of Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Address author correspondence to Yves Lajoie at ylajoie@uottawa.ca.
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