Introduction: The 6-minute walk test (6MWT) is a validated tool of submaximal intensity used as an objective measure of functional exercise capacity. Changes in 6-minute walk distance (6MWD) are used to evaluate the efficacy of therapeutic interventions. American Thoracic Society (ATS) guidelines state that the walking course for the 6MWT must be 30 m. In a primary care physiotherapy setting, a 30 m straight course is often not available. Space limitations often force clinicians and researchers to conduct 6MWT on shorter courses. The purpose of this study was to determine the influence of 5, 10, 15, and 30 m course lengths on 6MWD and physiological parameters during the 6MWT. Materials and methods: A total of 80 healthy adults from 18 to 30 years performed four 6MWTs along 5, 10, 15, and 30 m course lengths in a corridor randomly, on consecutive days. The 6MWD and vital parameters on all four course lengths were recorded. Walking speed and maximal oxygen uptake (VO2 max) were calculated. Results: There was a significant difference in 6MWD, walking speed, and VO2 max over 5, 10, 15, and 30 m course lengths during 6MWT (p < 0.05). There was no significant difference observed in the change in heart rate (HR) between 6MWT on 5 and 10 m course lengths and 6MWT on 15 and 30 m course lengths (p > 0.05). Conclusion: The course length strongly influences the performance during the 6MWT and the results on 5, 10, 15, and 30 m courses are not interchangeable with each other. However, there was a similar submaximal cardiac performance on 15 and 30 m course lengths.
ATS Committee on Proficiency Standards for Clinical Pulmonary Function Laboratories. ATS statement: guidelines for the six-minute walk test. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2002;166(1):111–117. DOI: 10.1164/ajrccm.166.1.at1102
Wolters Kluwer. (2016). Acsm's Guidelines for Exercise testing and prescription. 10th edition.
Solway S, Brooks D, Lacasse Y, et al. A qualitative systematic overview of the measurement properties of functional walk tests used in the cardiorespiratory domain. Chest 2001;119(1):256–270. DOI: 10.1378/chest.119.1.256
Holland AE, Hill CJ, Rasekaba T, et al. Updating the minimal important difference for six-minute walk distance in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2010;91(2):221–225. DOI: 10.1016/j.apmr.2009.10.017
Fell BL, Hanekom S, Heine M, et al. Six-minute walk test protocol variations in low-resource settings-A scoping review. S Afr J Physiother 2021;77(1):1549. DOI: 10.4102/sajp.v77i1.1549
Burr JF, Bredin SS, Faktor MD, et al. The 6-minute walk test as a predictor of objectively measured aerobic fitness in healthy working-aged adults. Phys Sportsmed 2011;39(2):133–139. DOI: 10.3810/psm.2011.05.1904
Ng SS, Tsang WW, Cheung TH, et al. Walkway length, but not turning direction, determines the six-minute walk test distance in individuals with stroke. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2011;92(5):806–811. DOI: 10.1016/j.apmr.2010.10.033
Enright PL. The six-minute walk test. Respir Care 2003;48(8):783–785. DOI: 10.1183/09031936.05.00134904
Macfarlane PA, Looney MA. Walkway length determination for steady state walking in young and older adults. Res Q Exerc Sport 2008;79(2):261–267. DOI: 10.1080/02701367.2008.10599489
Almeida VP, Ferreira AS, Guimarães FS, et al. Predictive models for the six-minute walk test considering the walking course and physical activity level. Eur J Phys Rehabil Med 2019;55(6):824–833. DOI: 10.23736/S1973-9087.19.05687-9
Aquino ES, Mourão FA, Souza RK, et al. Comparative analysis of the six-minute walk test in healthy children and adolescents. Rev Bras Fisioter 2010;14(1):75–80. DOI: 10.1183/09031936.05.00134904
Gochicoa-Rangel L, Ramírez-José MC, Troncoso-Huitrón P, et al. Shorter corridors can be used for the six-minute walk test in subjects with chronic lung diseases. Respir Investig 2020;58(4):255–261. DOI: 10.1016/j.resinv.2019.12.009