Search JFSF

JFSF Vol 5, No 2, June 2020, p.31-37

doi: 10.22540/JFSF-05-031


Review Article

Dual-task exercises in older adults: A structured review of current literature

Luz A. Varela-Vásquez, Eduard Minobes-Molina, Javier Jerez-Roig

  • Research group on Methodology, Methods, Models and Outcomes of Health and Social Sciences (M3O). Faculty of Health Sciences and Welfare. Centre for Health and Social Care Research (CESS). University of Vic-Central University of Catalonia (UVic-UCC), Vic, Spain

Keywords: Ageing, Balance, Dual task, Risk of falling, Walking speed


Considerable attention has recently focused on the role of dual-task exercises (DT) in the older adult. The aim was to conduct a review to describe the dual-task exercises that have been shown to be effective in improving balance and other physical characteristics such as decreased falling and walking speed in older adults. Review of intervention studies, in the Pubmed, PEDro, CINAHL and Web of Science databases. The search produced 498 references, 11 of which were identified with the description of the dual-task exercises, finding a wide variety of exercises, as well as great variability of outcome measures, discovering that the dual task is predominantly used for balance and walking speed training. All studies presented at least one group performing a double cognitive-motor task, some studies used the fixed priority modality in one group and variable in another, finding greater improvements in variable prioritisation. It can be said that dual-task training in older adults can improve balance and walking speed, which in turn reduces the risk of falling only if the planned dual-task training meets certain characteristics, such as training in specific concepts crucial in motor learning and dual-task training modalities.