Zeitschrift für Gerontologie und Geriatrie

, Volume 52, Issue 1, pp 23–27 | Cite as

Influence of single and dual tasks on gait stability and gait speed in the elderly

An explorative study
  • Slavko RoganEmail author
  • Jan Taeymans
  • Christian Bangerter
  • Sven Simon
  • Philippe Terrier
  • Roger Hilfiker
Original contribution



Gait stability during dual tasks is important for elderly persons, especially for elderly individuals in need of care. A study was conducted to assess gait stability by using Lyapunov exponents (λS) during single task and dual task conditions in independently living elderly people (Go-Goes) and elderly people in need of care (No-Goes).

Material and methods

This study was conducted with 26 participants (average age 82 ± 9.4 years) who were allocated to the Go-Goes or No-Goes group. Outcomes were mediolateral and vertical Lyapunov exponents (λS) from accelerometer data and gait speed under single task and dual task conditions.


In both groups significantly higher mediolateral and vertical Lyapunov exponent values as well as significantly lower walking speeds under dual task conditions were found in both groups. The effect sizes were small to moderate for mediolateral λS and large for vertical λS and these differences remained when the analyses were adjusted for walking speed.


Elderly people showed lower gait stability and gait speed under dual task conditions compared to single task conditions.


Attention focus Frailty Gait parameter 

Einfluss von Einfach- und Doppelaufgaben auf Gangstabilität und Ganggeschwindigkeit bei älteren Menschen

Eine explorative Studie



Gangstabilität während Doppelaufgaben ist für ältere Personen ein wichtiger Faktor, besonders für pflegebedürftige ältere Menschen. Diese Studie wurde durchgeführt, um die Gangstabilität bei Go-Goes und No-Goes während Einfach- und Doppelaufgaben mit Hilfe des Ljapunow-Exponenten (λS) zu bestimmen.

Material und Methoden

Diese Studie wurde mit 26 ProbandInnen (82 ± 9.4 Jahre) durchgeführt. Es wurden 2 Gruppen gebildet (Go-Goes und No-Goes). Als Outcomes dienten der medio-laterale und vertikale Ljapunow-Exponent (λS) sowie die Gehgeschwindigkeit.


In beiden Gruppen zeigten sich signifikant höhere medio-laterale und vertikale Ljapunow-Exponenten-Werte sowie signifikant tiefere Gehgeschwindigkeiten beim Gehen unter Doppelaufgaben. Nach Korrektur der Gehgeschwindigkeit zeigten sich für den medio-lateralen λS moderate und für den vertikalen λS große Effektstärken.


Ältere Menschen sind während Doppelaufgaben signifikant instabiler und langsamer.


Aufmerksamkeitsfokus Gebrechlichkeit Gangparameter 



We say thanks to Ross Bennie for proofreading.

Compliance with ethical guidelines

Conflict of interest

S. Rogan, T. Jan, C. Bangerter, S. Simon, T. Philippe and R. Hilfiker declare that they have no competing interests.

This exploratory study was conducted following the STROBE Statement guidelines


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Copyright information

© Springer Medizin Verlag GmbH 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department Health, Discipline Physiotherapy, Bern University of Applied SciencesBernSwitzerland
  2. 2.Academy for Physiotherapy and Training EducationGrenzach-WyhlenGermany
  3. 3.Faculty of Sport and Rehabilitation SciencesVrije Universiteit BrusselBrusselsBelgium
  4. 4.Faculty of Health SciencesAntwerp UniversityAntwerpBelgium
  5. 5.IRR, Institute for Research in Rehabilitation, Sion, Switzerland & Clinique romande de réadaptation SUVACareSionSwitzerland
  6. 6.School of Health Sciences, PhysiotherapyHES-SO Valais-WallisLeukerbadSwitzerland

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