Rhythmic Interlimb Coordination Impairments and the Risk for Developing Mobility Limitations

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Psychiatry

Publication Date


Document Type



Geriatrics | Musculoskeletal, Neural, and Ocular Physiology | Rehabilitation and Therapy


BACKGROUND: The identification of novel rehabilitative impairments that are risk factors for mobility limitations may improve their prevention and treatment among older adults. We tested the hypothesis that impaired rhythmic interlimb ankle and shoulder coordination are risk factors for subsequent mobility limitations among older adults.

METHODS: We conducted a 1-year prospective cohort study of community-dwelling older adults (N = 99) aged 67 years and older who did not have mobility limitations (Short Physical Performance Battery score > 9) at baseline. Participants performed antiphase coordination of the right and left ankles or shoulders while paced by an auditory metronome. Using multivariable logistic regression, we determined odds ratios (ORs) for mobility limitations at 1-year follow-up as a function of coordination variability and asymmetry.

RESULTS: After adjusting for age, sex, body mass index, Mini-Mental State Examination score, number of chronic conditions, and baseline Short Physical Performance Battery score, ORs were significant for developing mobility limitations based on a 1 SD difference in the variability of ankle (OR = 1.88; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.16-3.05) and shoulder (OR = 1.96; 95% CI: 1.17-3.29) coordination. ORs were significant for asymmetry of shoulder (OR = 2.11; 95% CI: 1.25-3.57), but not ankle (OR = 0.95; 95% CI: 0.59-1.55) coordination. Similar results were found in unadjusted analyses.

CONCLUSIONS: The results support our hypothesis that impaired interlimb ankle and shoulder coordination are risk factors for the development of mobility limitations. Future work is needed to further examine the peripheral and central mechanisms underlying this relationship and to test whether enhancing coordination alters mobility limitations.


Aging, Coordination, Interlimb, Mobility, Risk

DOI of Published Version



J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2016 Dec 7. pii: glw236. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

The journals of gerontology. Series A, Biological sciences and medical sciences

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID