The Effect of Dual Task on Muscle Activity During Steady State and Gait Initiation

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Abstract

Background: Gait is considered a single task when done alone. Once an additional task as talking is involved, it is referred to as dual task. This presents a cognitive load to the central nervous system (CNS) affecting our motor control. This disturbance causes a reduction in our state of balance, creating a higher opportunity for falls in aging adults. There are limited studies about gait and dual task typically investigate the lower extremity muscle activation in gait initiation (GI) or steady state (SS) gait with balance. Here, we are examining gait initiation and steady state gait muscle activation patterns during dual task and single task gait. Purpose: To explore the effects of dual task on healthy young adults on muscle activation in the biceps femoris (BF), vastus lateralis (VL), tibialis anterior (TA), and gastrocnemius (GL). Method: 21 healthy young adults performed single task walking and dual task walking on a 10-meter walkway. 10 VICON motion capture cameras were used for collecting walking trial data to find steady state (foot strikes and toe-offs). Force plates were used to find the deviation in the overground reaction to identify gait initiation phases. Electromyography was used to collect muscle activity data. Results: GI phases, mean muscle activation was reduced, not in Swing VL. Meanwhile, there was only a difference between swing and stance for the offset phase. GI weight transition, mean coactivation decreased. Although, there is a significant difference within Stance limb muscles. SS stance phase, mean muscle activation decreased for BF, VL, and TA in dual task compared to single task. In addition, BF, VL, TA, and GL showed significant differences. Conclusion: Under the dual task condition GI Weight Transition, TA and BF (calves and hamstring muscles) can be early predictors of poor balance relating back to older adults beginning their gait. In SS stance phase, the VL and BF (quad and hamstring muscles) are more affected by dual task while performing cyclic gait, which impedes on their stable balance control.

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Engineering, Biomedical

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