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01.12.2017 | Research Article | Ausgabe 1/2017 Open Access

BMC Geriatrics 1/2017

Does dual task training improve walking performance of older adults with concern of falling?

BMC Geriatrics > Ausgabe 1/2017
B. Wollesen, S. Schulz, L. Seydell, K. Delbaere



Older adults with concerns of falling show decrements of gait stability under single (ST) and dual task (DT) conditions.
To compare the effects of a DT training integrating task managing strategies for independent living older adults with and without concern about falling (CoF) to a non-training control group on walking performance under ST and DT conditions.


Single center parallel group single blind randomized controlled trial with group-based interventions (DT-managing balance training) compared to a control group (Ninety-five independent living older adults; 71.5 ± 5.2 years).
A progressive DT training (12 sessions; 60 min each; 12 weeks) including task-managing strategies was compared to a non-training control group. Setting: group based intervention for independent living elderly in a gym. ST and DT walking (visual verbal Stroop task) were measured on a treadmill. Gait parameters (step length, step width, and gait line) and cognitive performance while walking were compared with a 2x2x2 Repeated Measures Analyses of Variance.


Participants in the intervention group showed an increased step length under ST and DT conditions following the intervention, for both people with and without CoF compared to their respective control groups. Foot rolling movement and cognitive performance while walking however only improved in participants without CoF.


The results showed that DT managing training can improve walking performance under ST and DT conditions in people with and without CoF. Additional treatment to directly address CoF, such as cognitive behavioural therapy, should be considered to further improve the cautious gait pattern (as evidenced by reduced foot rolling movements).

Trial registration

The study was retrospectively registered in the German Clinical Trials Register (DRKS; Identification number DRKS00012382, 11.05.2017).
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