Indian Journal of Respiratory Care

IJRC Email      Register      Login

VOLUME 12 , ISSUE 1 ( January-March, 2023 ) > List of Articles

Original Article

Effect of Walking Course Length on 6MWT: An Experimental Study

Aditi N Zawar, Raziya M Nagarwala, Rachana P Dabadghav

Keywords : 6-minute walk test, Course length, Maximal oxygen uptake, Walking speed

Citation Information : Zawar AN, Nagarwala RM, Dabadghav RP. Effect of Walking Course Length on 6MWT: An Experimental Study. Indian J Respir Care 2023; 12 (1):67-70.

DOI: 10.5005/jp-journals-11010-1019

License: CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

Published Online: 14-03-2023

Copyright Statement:  Copyright © 2023; The Author(s).


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.

  1. 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
  2. Wolters Kluwer. (2016). Acsm's Guidelines for Exercise testing and prescription. 10th edition.
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. Enright PL. The six-minute walk test. Respir Care 2003;48(8):783–785. DOI: 10.1183/09031936.05.00134904
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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
PDF Share
PDF Share

© Jaypee Brothers Medical Publishers (P) LTD.