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BMC Pediatr. 2015 Feb 5;15:2. doi: 10.1186/s12887-015-0317-8.

Association of dual-task walking performance and leg muscle quality in healthy children.

Author information

1
Department of Health and Sports Sciences, Division of Training and Movement Sciences, Research Focus Cognition Sciences, University of Potsdam, Am Neuen Palais 10, Bldg. 12, D-14469, Potsdam, Germany. rbeurskens@posteo.de.
2
Department of Health and Sports Sciences, Division of Training and Movement Sciences, Research Focus Cognition Sciences, University of Potsdam, Am Neuen Palais 10, Bldg. 12, D-14469, Potsdam, Germany. thomas.muehlbauer@uni-potsdam.de.
3
Department of Health and Sports Sciences, Division of Training and Movement Sciences, Research Focus Cognition Sciences, University of Potsdam, Am Neuen Palais 10, Bldg. 12, D-14469, Potsdam, Germany. urs.granacher@uni-potsdam.de.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Previous literature mainly introduced cognitive functions to explain performance decrements in dual-task walking, i.e., changes in dual-task locomotion are attributed to limited cognitive information processing capacities. In this study, we enlarge existing literature and investigate whether leg muscular capacity plays an additional role in children's dual-task walking performance.

METHODS:

To this end, we had prepubescent children (mean age: 8.7 ± 0.5 years, age range: 7-9 years) walk in single task (ST) and while concurrently conducting an arithmetic subtraction task (DT). Additionally, leg lean tissue mass was assessed.

RESULTS:

Findings show that both, boys and girls, significantly decrease their gait velocity (f = 0.73), stride length (f = 0.62) and cadence (f = 0.68) and increase the variability thereof (f = 0.20-0.63) during DT compared to ST. Furthermore, stepwise regressions indicate that leg lean tissue mass is closely associated with step time and the variability thereof during DT (R(2) = 0.44, p = 0.009). These associations between gait measures and leg lean tissue mass could not be observed for ST (R(2) = 0.17, p = 0.19).

CONCLUSION:

We were able to show a potential link between leg muscular capacities and DT walking performance in children. We interpret these findings as evidence that higher leg muscle mass in children may mitigate the impact of a cognitive interference task on DT walking performance by inducing enhanced gait stability.

PMID:
25652949
PMCID:
PMC4325950
DOI:
10.1186/s12887-015-0317-8
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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