A concurrent attention-demanding task did not interfere with balance recovery function in standing and walking among young adults – An explorative laboratory study

Inbal Paran, Hadas Nachmani, Itshak Melzer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study aimed to explore the ability to overcome unannounced surface perturbations of different magnitudes during standing and walking under single-task and dual-task conditions. Balance recovery abilities during perturbed walking and concurrently performing cognitive tasks has rarely been investigated although it provides more ecological information in regard to real-life situations than perturbations during single-task conditions (i.e., just walking). Thirteen young adults were asked to perform: 1) a cognitive task while sitting; 2) perturbed standing; 3) a concurrent cognitive task during perturbed standing; 4) perturbed walking; and 5) a concurrent cognitive task during perturbed walking. The cognitive task was to perform number subtractions by seven. The participants were instructed to “try to avoid a fall” during the perturbation trials. Step threshold, cognitive task performance, and 3D kinematic analysis of the first recovery step, i.e., the spatiotemporal characteristics, were compared between all conditions. Step threshold and the spatiotemporal parameters of the first recovery stepping responses were similar between all task conditions. Cognitive performance was also unaffected by the postural challenges in all task conditions. These results suggest that the first balance recovery stepping response among young adults is automatic. Furthermore, young adults seem to have sufficient motor-cognitive resources to perform concurrently both balance recovery and cognitive tasks with no interference effects.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102675
JournalHuman Movement Science
Volume73
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2020

Keywords

  • Balance perturbations
  • Balance recovery
  • Cognitive-motor interference
  • Dual task
  • Gait

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