Aim: To compare single-task and dual-task training on obstacle avoidance, gait speed and balance in healthy community-dwelling older adults.
Methods: A total of 17 older adults (65-83 years) participated in a group circuit class, once weekly for 45 min for 4 weeks. The dual-task group carried out cognitive activities simultaneously with gait and balance exercises. The single-task training group carried out identical gait and balance activities without cognitive tasks. We assessed time to complete a 6-m obstacle course under single-task and three different dual-task conditions (spontaneous speech, alphabet recitation and coin transfer), 25-ft gait speed, Timed Up and Go, and the Activities-specific Balance Confidence Scale.
Results: Both groups showed significant improvement in gait speed and Timed Up and Go. In addition, the proportion of participants who achieved gait speed >1.0 m/s increased in both groups. There were no within- or between-subjects differences in obstacle course performance under single or dual-task conditions after the intervention.
Conclusion: Once weekly group circuit training focusing on balance, gait and agility, with or without simultaneous cognitive tasks, resulted in significantly improved walking speed among older adults. Group-format dual-task training once per week did not improve walking time or dual-task cost on an obstacle negotiation task.
© 2012 Japan Geriatrics Society.