Rhythmic Interlimb Coordination Impairments Are Associated With Mobility Limitations Among Older Adults

Eric G. James, Suzanne G. Leveille, Jeffrey M. Hausdorff, Thomas Travison, Sarah Cote, Philip Conatser, Murat Karabulut, Andrea C. Mendes, David N. Kennedy, Katherine L. Tucker, Soham Al Snih, Kyriakos S. Markides, Jonathan F. Bean

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background/Study Context: Mobility limitations affect more than 25% of adults aged 70 years or older. This study tested the hypothesis that impairments in ankle and shoulder coordination are associated with mobility limitations among older adults. Methods: his study consisted of conducted a cross-sectional analysis from a sample of community-dwelling older adults (N = 130) aged ≥67 years. Motion capture equipment was used to collect kinematic data during rhythmic antiphase coordination of the right and left: (a) ankles moving in dorsi-plantarflexion; and (b) glenohumeral (“shoulder”) moving in flexion-extension while paced by an auditory metronome. Coordination variability was measured as the standard deviation of the relative phase between right and left body segments. Mobility limitations were defined as a score of ≤9 on the Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB). Odds ratios for mobility limitations as a function of coordination variability quartiles were determined using multivariable logistic regression. Results: Adjusting for age, gender, body mass index, number of chronic conditions and Mini-Mental State Examination score, the odds ratios for mobility limitation (SPPB score ≤9) were 7.38 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 2.20–24.78) and 15.40 (95% CI: 4.31–55.07) for the 3rd and 4th (the poorest) ankle coordination quartiles, respectively, and 6.73 (95% CI: 2.11–21.51) for the 4th shoulder coordination quartile, compared with the best (the 1st) coordination quartiles. Conclusion: The results supported the hypothesis that impaired interlimb ankle and shoulder coordination are associated with the manifestation of mobility limitations. These findings indicate the need for further study of the role of coordination impairments as potential contributors to poor mobility among older adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)337-345
Number of pages9
JournalExperimental Aging Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 8 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • General Psychology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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