This study investigated how cognitive and walking performance are influenced when performed concurrently in older adults and what factors are associated with poorer dual-task responses. Using a dual-task study design, 217 subjects aged 74-85 years completed three information processing test conditions-(1) no test; (2) push-button simple reaction-time; and (3) visual-spatial decision reaction-time; and three walking test conditions-(1) seated; (2) walking over a 20 m straight course; and (3) walking over 20 m with a turn. Push-button and visual-spatial reaction-times increased approximately 21% and 6%, respectively, while walking compared to sitting (p < 0.008). Reaction-time tests had a relatively weak impact on walking-time. Poorer dual-task walking-time responses correlated with slower walking velocity and weaker muscle strength (p ≤ .062). Findings suggest that walking requires significant cognitive resources among older adults and slower-walking adults and weaker adults may require higher cognitive loading while walking.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine