EFFECT OF SELF-PACED WALKING ON REDUCING COGNITIVE DEMANDS OF WALKING WHILE TALKING Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Abstract Although walking is considered an automated process, internal and external factors can alter gait performance. Fear of falling leads to walking with a wider base of support and decreased walking speed, due to a combination of shorter stride lengths and/or stride time. Exacerbation of gait deficits have been reported under high cognitive load situations (HCLS, also known as dual-tasks). Talking on a phone is considered an increased HCLS over talking in-person due to visualization of the individual on the phone. The purpose of the study was to explore the added effects of walking while talking on a phone compared to talking in-person. Fifteen healthy older adult subjects (70.86±4.7yrs) performed three conditions while walking on a self-paced treadmill for ten minutes: (1)walking alone, (2)walking while talking in-person, (3)walking while talking on a phone. Mean stride length(SL), stride time(ST), and step width(SW) were compared using one-way, repeated-measures ANOVAs (p=0.10). Dual-task cost of walking while talking in-person and on a phone was calculated for each gait variable and compared with t-tests. Mean gait variables did not differ between conditions (SL p=0.95, ST p=0.77, SW p=0.57). Dual-task costs were not significantly different between talking conditions (SL p=0.99, ST p=0.54, SW p=0.14). Use of a self-paced treadmill allowed the subjects to perform in their “comfort zone”, however, walking on a set-speed treadmill may force walking speed outside of the comfort zone, pushing one’s “reserve”, and revealing differences. Use of a self-paced treadmill better approximates daily life by providing the opportunity to make adaptations under HCLS.

author list (cited authors)

  • Kim, H. J., Fallahtafti, F., Yentes, J. M., Venema, D., & Boron, J. B.

publication date

  • January 1, 2019 11:11 AM