Int J Sports Med 2010; 31(5): 353-358
DOI: 10.1055/s-0030-1248322
Training & Testing

© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Balance Training and Multi-Task Performance in Seniors

U. Granacher1 , T. Muehlbauer1 , S. Bridenbaugh2 , E. Bleiker1 , A. Wehrle2 , R. W. Kressig2
  • 1University of Basel, Institute of Exercise and Health Sciences, Basel, Switzerland
  • 2University Hospital Basel, Division of Acute Geriatrics, Basel, Switzerland
Further Information

Publication History

accepted after revision January 29, 2010

Publication Date:
23 February 2010 (online)


Age-related impairment in gait patterns when simultaneously performing cognitive (CI) and/or motor (MI) interference tasks are associated with an increased risk of falling in seniors. The objective of this study was to investigate the impact of balance training (BT) on walking performance with and without concurrently performing a CI and/or MI task in seniors. Twenty healthy women (n=14) and men (n=6) were assigned to either an intervention (n=11, age 71.9±4.8 yrs) or a control group (n=9, age 74.9±6.3 yrs). The intervention group conducted a six week BT (3/week). Pre and post tests included the assessment of stride-to-stride variability during single (walking), dual (CI or MI+walking), and triple (CI+MI+walking) task walking on an instrumented walkway. BT resulted in statistically significant reductions in stride time variability under single (p=0.02, Δ34.8%) but not dual or triple-task walking. Significant improvements in the MI task (p=0.05, Δ39.1%), but not in the CI task were found while walking. Findings showed that improved performance during single-task walking did not transfer to walking under dual or triple-task conditions suggesting multi-task BT as an alternative training modality. Improvement of the secondary motor but not cognitive task may indicate the need for the involvement of motor and particularly cognitive tasks during BT.


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Dr. Urs GranacherPhD 

University of Basel

Institute of Exercise and Health Sciences

Brüglingen 33

4052 Basel


Phone: +41/61/377 87 61

Fax: +41/61/377 87 58