Journal of Human Sport and Exercise

Effects of motor and cognitive loads on postural stability in healthy children

Marianna Liparoti



Traditionally postural control was considered an automatic task, currently it is considered a process that involve higher control levels. The aims of study were to investigate the effects of cognitive and motor secondary tasks on postural control in healthy students and reveal which of two tasks have a greater impact on simple task. We enrolled eleven healthy children, who were asked to perform the following task: standing with open eyes and performing the same task while performing a cognitive (an n-back subtraction) or motor (finger tapping) dual task (DT). Our results demonstrated that both DT affects the postural control. Specifically, we find higher Centre of Pressure (COP) sway area during cognitive DT as compared to both single task and motor DT. Furthermore, results showed higher COP oscillation velocity in anteroposterior direction during cognitive DT then motor DT. Moreover, this parameter was significantly different in single task compared to motor DT. However, the secondary cognitive task showed a greater impact on postural control then motor secondary task on postural control. Our findings may be applied in school setting to elaborate motor programs useful to improve the postural stability and the ability to perform two tasks simultaneously.


Postural stability; Dual task; Educational setting


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