Effects of once weekly dual-task training in older adults: a pilot randomized controlled trial

Geriatr Gerontol Int. 2012 Oct;12(4):622-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1447-0594.2011.00825.x. Epub 2012 Feb 2.


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.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Gait / physiology*
  • Geriatric Assessment / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pilot Projects
  • Postural Balance / physiology*
  • Task Performance and Analysis