Executive function correlates with walking speed in older persons: The InCHIANTI study

Alesandro Ble, Stefano Volpato, Giovanni Zuliani, Jack M. Guralnik, Stefania Bandinelli, Fulvio Lauretani, Benedetta Bartali, Cinzia Maraldi, Renato Fellin, Luigi Ferrucci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

262 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES: To study the association between performance on psychological tests of executive function and performance on lower extremity tasks with different attentional demands in a large sample of nondemented, older adults. DESIGN: Cross-sectional study. SETlING: Community-based. PARTICIPANTS: Nine hundred twenty-six persons aged 65 and older, without dementia, stroke, parkinsonism, visual impairment, or current treatment with neuroleptics, enrolled in a large epidemiological study. MEASUREMENTS: Trail Making Test (TMT) parts A and B and two performance-based measures of lower extremity function that require different executive/attentional-demanding skills: walking speed on a 4-m course at usual pace and walking speed on a 7-m obstacle course at fast pace. A difference score (Delta TMT), obtained by subtracting time to perform part A from time to perform part B of the TMT, was used as an indicator of executive function. Based on Delta TMT, subjects were divided into poor performance, intermediate performance, and good performance. RESULTS: After adjustment, no association between Delta TMT and 4-m course usual-pace walking speed was found. Participants with poor Delta TMT and with intermediate Delta TMT performance were more likely to be in the lowest tertile for 7-m obstacle course walking speed. CONCLUSION: In nondemented older persons, executive function is independently associated with tasks of lower extremity function that require high attentional demand.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)410-415
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Aging
  • Cognitive function
  • Executive function
  • Inchianti
  • Lower extremity function
  • Walking speed

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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