The interacting effect of increasing cognitive and motor task demands on performance of gait, balance and cognition in young adults.
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The purposes of this study were to: 1) evaluate the effect of walking speed on gait, balance and cognitive task performance and 2) examine the effect of dual task (cognitive load) on gait balance and cognitive task performance. Twenty young healthy adults (24+6 years of age) were recruited and each participant walked on a motorised treadmill at two speeds(0.5m/s and 0.8m/s), first without performing cognitive tasks, then while performing three types of cognitive loaded tasks. The speed had a significant effect on average and coefficient of variation of temporal gait parameters (P<0.001), cognitive task performance (P<0.001) and center of pressure excursion (P<0.001). No statistically significant effect of speed was found ML trunk displacement. However, dual task (cognitive load) had significant effect on COV of temporal gait (P<0.001), cognition (P<0.001) and trunk motion (P<0.001). In conclusion, the speed and dual task had significant effect on locomotors rhythm, balance, and cognitive performances.