Rachel Ekker1, Summer Jack1, Maddy Soderberg1, Lexi Zach1, Saori Braun1, Jeffery Janot1. The Acute Effects of Preferred Music on Self-Selected Usual and Maximum Gait Speed on Community-Dwelling Older Adults. 1Department of Kinesiology, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, WI, USA.


Introduction: Slower gait speeds are linked to increased fall risk, frailty, decreased risk of independence, and developing chronic diseases in the older adult population. Previous research highlights the importance of maintaining usual gait speed to decrease mortality and to maintain health status. This study aimed to determine if self-selected music implementation increases gait speeds in community-dwelling older adults, measuring both usual and maximum gait speeds. Methods: Thirty participants (mean age 68.8 and standard deviation of 5.3 years) completed a 10-m gait test, one at their usual gait speed and another at their maximum gait speed. The order of music vs. non-music intervention was counterbalanced across the participants.  The same two researchers timed the duration that it took for each participant to walk over a 10-m distance using stopwatches and the average time was utilized to compute gait speeds. Results: Using a paired sample t test, there was no difference in either usual and maximum gait speeds between music and non-music intervention. When using a two-way repeated measures analysis of variance, there was a significant interaction between music intervention (music vs. non-music) and body mass index (BMI) classifications (normal vs. overweight vs. obese) on usual gait speed, F(2,27) = 3.73, MSE = 0.003, p = .037. It was found that there was a moderate inverse correlation between BMI (kg•m-2) and the difference in usual gait speeds between music and non-music intervention. Conclusion: Findings suggest that individuals in normal and overweight BMI classifications may exhibit greater increase in usual gait speed with music implementation compared to walking without music, and participants classified as obese may show no change.