Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 237, Issue 12, pp 3123–3132 | Cite as

The effect of mental tracking task on spatiotemporal gait parameters in healthy younger and middle- and older aged participants during dual tasking

  • Leandro Viçosa BonettiEmail author
  • Syed Ahmed Hassan
  • Karina Tamy Kasawara
  • W. Darlene Reid
Research Article


To evaluate the effect of dual tasking that combines walking with a mental tracking task on spatiotemporal gait parameters in younger and older adults. After completing the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ), participants performed single tasks: preferred paced walk (PPW); fast paced walk (FPW); single-leg stance (SLS); spelling backwards cognitive task (CT). Thereafter, dual tasks: PPW + CT; FPW + CT; SLS + CT. Spatiotemporal gait parameters and the durations of SLS and SLS + CT were measured. Twenty younger and 20 older adults participated. The IPAQ scores were similar in both groups. Compared to the single task, stride length was shorter, stride time was longer, and stride length and time variability were higher during the PPW and FPW dual tasks in both groups. Older age was associated with shorter stride length during PPW and FPW, and longer stride time during FPW dual compared to single tasks. The older group exhibited shorter times during SLS and SLS + CT compared to younger group. Despite similar self-reported fitness, older age is associated with shorter stride length and longer stride time during FPW dual tasks as well as short times during SLS + CT, which may indicate diminished balance and posture stability.


Dual tasking Gait Older 



This study was funded by the Ontario Respiratory Care Society.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Physical TherapyUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Post-Graduation Program in Health ScienceUniversidade de Caxias do SulCaxias do SulBrazil
  3. 3.Department of Physical TherapyUniversidade de Caxias do SulCaxias do SulBrazil
  4. 4.Rehabilitation Sciences InstituteUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  5. 5.Toronto Rehabilitation InstituteUniversity Health NetworkTorontoCanada
  6. 6.Interdepartmental Division of Critical Care MedicineUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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