Age-related features of walking with cognitive tasks

  • V. M. Moroz National Pirogov Memorial Medical University, Vinnytsya, Ukraine
  • M. V. Yoltukhivskyy National Pirogov Memorial Medical University, Vinnytsya, Ukraine
  • O. V. Vlasenko National Pirogov Memorial Medical University, Vinnytsya, Ukraine
  • G. S. Moskovko National Pirogov Memorial Medical University, Vinnytsya, Ukraine
  • O. V. Bogomaz National Pirogov Memorial Medical University, Vinnytsya, Ukraine
  • I. L. Rokunets National Pirogov Memorial Medical University, Vinnytsya, Ukraine
  • I. V. Tyshchenko National Pirogov Memorial Medical University, Vinnytsya, Ukraine
  • L. V. Kostyuk National Pirogov Memorial Medical University, Vinnytsya, Ukraine
  • K. V. Suprunov National Pirogov Memorial Medical University, Vinnytsya, Ukraine
Keywords: spatial and temporal parameters of walking, different age groups, gait with an additional cognitive task.


Human walking is considered as a complex cognitive act. The research purpose is an analysis of age-related features of spatio-temporal parameters of human walking and directions of their changes at walking with dual (cognitive) tasks. The walking spatio-temporal indexes were studied in 608 individuals of both sexes aged 12-43 years by GAITRite® (CIR Systems Inc.,Clifton, NJ) under normal walking at individually comfortable velocity and under additional cognitive tasks: 1) sequentially pronounce aloud any known animals; 2) starting from a number 100, subtract 7 and pronounce the result aloud. The statistical processing of the got results was carried out in the licensed software “STATISTICA 5.5”. At performing the first, simpler, task, the spatial parameters had no significant changes in all age groups. Most of the temporal parameters changed: cycle time, swing time, single support time, and double support time increased. Therefore, equilibrium maintaining at walking with naming animals is realized with a longer overall support period, reducing the walking cadence and velocity. The constant width of the support base and the angle of the feet turn indicate that the magnitudes of the functional support base and angle of the feet turn at normal walking is sufficient to maintain posture and balance at walking with simultaneous performance of the cognitive task, as well as more rigid mechanisms of regulation of these two parameters. The walking temporal parameters are more labile than spatial parameters. With age, the percentage of the integral index of walking quality (FAP) decreases especially in females: in girls by 15.3 %, in young women by 14.4 %, in middle-aged women by 7.4 %. At performing the second, more complex, arithmetic task, in young men and young girls support base, toe-in-out, step length difference had no significant changes only. The mean velocity, cadence, step length, stride length, step extremity ratio decreased. The count of steps, all temporal parameters, and stance percentage increased. FAP declined critically by 30.4 % in young men and 33.4 % in young women, indicating a decrease in balance and body stability under walking with cognitive task and increasing the risk of falls. Therefore, a significant reduction in FAP can be used as a diagnostic criterion in neurological practice.


[1] Al-Yahya, E., Dawes, H., Smith, L., Dennis, A., Howells, K., & Cockburn, J. (2011). Cognitive motor interference while walking: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Neuroscience end Biobehavioral Reviewws, 35, 715-728.
[2] Beauchet, O., Dubost, V., Aminian, K., Gonthier, R., & Kressig, R. W. (2005). Dual-Task Related Gait Changes in the Elderly: Does the Type of Cognitive Task Matter? Journal of Motor Behavior, 37(4), 259-264.
[3] Bogomaz, O. V. (2010). Organization of space-time parameters of walking in boys and girls, depending on the leading hand. Bulletin of Zaporizhzhya National University, 2, 54-62.
[4] Bogomaz, O. V. (2010). Spatio-temporal parameters of normal walking in boys and girls, depending on the dominant type of Higher Nervous Activity. Tavriya Medico-Biological Bulletin, 4(13), 17-21.
[5] Doi, T., Shimada, H., Makizako, H., Tsutsumimoto, K., Uemura, K., Anan, Y., & Suzuki, T. (2014). Cognitive function and gait speed under normal and dual-task walking among older adults with mild cognitive impairment. BMC Neurology, 14, 67. doi: 10.1186/1471-2377-14-67
[6] Dubost, V., Kressig, R. W., Gonthier, R., Herrmann, F. R., Aminian, K., Najafi, B., & Beauchet, O. (2006). Relationships between dual-task related changes in stride velocity and stride time variability in healthy older adults Hum. Mov. Sci., 25(3), 372-382. doi: 10.1016/j.humov.2006.03.004
[7] Earhart, G. M. (2013). Dynamic Control of Posture Across Locomotor Tasks. Movement Disorders, 28(11), 1501-1509. doi: 10.1002/mds.25592
[8] Egerton, T., Thingstad, P. & Helbostad, J. L. (2014). Comparison of programs for determining temporal-spatial gait variables from instrumented walkway data: PKmas versus GAITRite. BMC Res. Notes, 7(1), 542. doi: 10.1186/1756-0500-7-542
[9] Gonzales, U. J., Jamesb, R., Yang, H. S., Jensen, D., Atkins, L., Thompson, B. J., … O'Boyle, M. (2016). Different cognitive functions discriminate gait performance in younger and older women: A pilot study. Gait Posture, 50, 89-95. doi: 10.1016/j.gaitpost.2016.08.021
[10] Hausdorff, J. M., Schweiger, A., Herman, T., Yogev-Seligmann, G., & Giladi, N. (2008). Dual-Task Decrements in Gait: Contributing Factors Among Healthy Older Adults. Journal of Gerontology, 63(12), 1335-1343. doi:
[11] Hollman, J. H., Kovash, F. M., Kubik, J. J., & Linbo, R. A. (2007). Age-related differences in spatiotemporal markers of gait stability during dual task walking. Gait & Posture, 26(1), 113-119.
[12] Miyoshi, Y., Yoshioka, Y., Suzuki, K., Miyazaki, T., Koura, M., Saigoh, K., … Hayasaka, N. (2014). A New Mouse Allele of Glutamate Receptor Delta 2 with Cerebellar Atrophy and Progressive Ataxia. PLoS One, 9(9), e107867. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0107867
[13] Montero-Odasso, M., Verghese, J., Beauchet, O., & Hausdorff, J. M. (2012). Gait and Cognition: A Complementary Approach to Understanding Brain Function and the Risk of Falling. J. Am. Geriatr. Soc., 60(11), 2127-2136. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2012.04209.x
[14] Musienko, P. E., Zelenin, P. V., Lyalka, V. F., Gerasimenko, Y. P., Orlovsky, G. N., & Deliagina, T. G. (2012). Spinal and Supraspinal Control of the Direction of Stepping during Locomotion. The Journal of Neuroscience, 32(48), 17442-17453. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3757-12.2012
[15] Peters, D. M., Middleton, A., Donley, J. W., Blanck, E. L., & Fritz, S. L. (2014). Concurrent validity of walking speed values calculated via the GAITRite electronic walkway and 3 meter walk test in the chronic stroke population. Physiother. Theory Pract., 30(3), 183-188. doi: 10.3109/09593985.2013.845805
[16] Posner, M. I., Sheese, B. E., Odludas, Y., & Tang, Y. (2006). Analyzing and shaping human attentional networks. Neural Netw, 19(9), 1422-1429.
[17] Priest, A. W., Salamon, K. B., & Hollman, J. H. (2008). Age-related differences in dual task walking: a cross sectional study. Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation, 5, 29. doi: 10.1186/1743-0003-5-29
[18] Schaefer, S., Jagenow, D., Verrel, J., & Lindenberger, U. (2015). The influence of cognitive load and walking speed on gait regularity in children and young adults. Gait & Posture, 41, 258-262.
[19] Schmidheiny, A., Swanenburg, J., Straumann, D., de Bruin, E. D., & Knols, R. H. (2015). Discriminant validity and test re-test reproducibility of a gait assessment in patients with vestibular dysfunction. BMC Ear Nose Throat Disord., 15(6), 1-10. doi: 10.1186/s12901-015-0019-8
[20] Schrodt, L. A., Mercer, V. S., Giuliani, C. A., & Hartmann, M. (2004). Characteristics of stepping over an obstacle in community dwelling older adults under dual-task conditions. Gait & Posture, 19(3), 279-287. doi: 10.1016/S0966-6362(03)00067-5
[21] Schulze, C., Linder, T., Woitge, S., Schulz, K., Finze, S., Mittelmeier, W., & Bader, R. (2014). Influence of Footwear and Equipment on Stride Length and Range of Motion of Ankle, Knee and Hip Joint. Acta of Bioengineering and Biomechanics, 16(4), 45-51. doi: 10.5277/ABB-00043-2014-02
[22] Sheridan, P. L., & Hausdorff, J. M. (2007). The role of higher-level cognitive function in gait: executive dysfunction contributes to fall risk in Alzheimer’s disease. Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord, 24(2), 125-137.
[23] Shumway-Cook, A., Guralnik, J. M., Phillips, C. L., Coppin, A. K., Ciol, M. A., Bandinelli, S., & Ferrucci L. (2007). Age-Associated Declines in Complex Walking Task Performance: The Walking InCHIANTI Toolkit. J. Am. Geriatr. Soc., 55(1), 58-65. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2006.00962.x
[24] Shumway-Cook, A., Woollacott, M., Kerns, K. A., & Baldwin, M. (1997). The effects of two types of cognitive tasks on postural stability in older adults with and without a history of falls. J. Gerontol. A Biol. Sci. Med. Sci., 52(4), 232-240. doi: 10.1093/gerona/52A.4.M232
[25] Sigman, M., & Dehaene, S. (2008). Brain Mechanisms of Serial and Parallel Processing during Dual-Task Performance. The Journal of Neuroscience, 28(30), 7585-7598.
[26] Webster, K. E., Wittwer J. E., & Feller, J. A. (2005). Validity of the GAITRite® walkway system for the measurement of averaged and individual step parameters of gait. Gait & Posture, 22(4), 317-321. doi: 10.1016/j.gaitpost.2004.10.005
[27] Xingda Qu (2014). Age-related cognitive task effects on gait characteristics: do different working memory components make a difference? Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation, 11(149), 3-9.
[28] Yang, Y. R., Chen, Y. C., Lee, C. S., Cheng, S. J., & Wang, R. Y. (2007). Dual-task-related gait changes in individuals with stroke. Gait & Posture, 25(2), 185-190. doi: 10.1016/j.gaitpost.2006.03.007
[29] Yogev, G., Hausdorff, J. M., & Giladi, N. (2008). The Role of Executive Function and Attention in Gait. Mov Disord, 23(3), 329-472.
[30] Yoltukhivskyy, M. V., & Velychko, Т. О. (2009). Organization of spatio-temporal parameters of walking when changing its pace in boys and girls. Archive of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, 18(2), 137-141.
How to Cite
Moroz, V. M., Yoltukhivskyy, M. V., Vlasenko, O. V., Moskovko, G. S., Bogomaz, O. V., Rokunets, I. L., Tyshchenko, I. V., Kostyuk, L. V., & Suprunov, K. V. (2019). Age-related features of walking with cognitive tasks. Biomedical and Biosocial Anthropology, (34), 68-76.