Instructions And Resources For the Six Minute Walk Fitness Test

The following are resources for the Six Minute Walk Fitness Test:

Excellent brief summary of Literature about the Six Minute Walk Fitness Test from–The Rehabilitation Measures Database.

ATS Statement: Guidelines for the Six-Minute Walk Test. 2002. [Full Text PDF]

The following are excerpts from the above resource:

The 6MWT should be performed indoors, along a long, flat,
straight, enclosed corridor with a hard surface that is seldom
traveled. . . .  The walking course must be 30 m in length.
A 100-ft hallway is, therefore, required. The length of the corridor should be marked every 3 m. The turnaround points should be marked with a cone (such as an orange traffic cone). A starting line, which marks the beginning and end of each 60-m lap, should be marked on the floor using brightly colored tape.

The use of a treadmill to determine the 6MWD might save
space and allow constant monitoring during the exercise, but
the use of a treadmill for 6-minute walk testing is not recommended. Patients are unable to pace themselves on a treadmill.


1. Countdown timer (or stopwatch)
2. Mechanical lap counter
3. Two small cones to mark the turnaround points
4. A chair that can be easily moved along the walking course
5. Worksheets on a clipboard
6. A source of oxygen
7. Sphygmomanometer
8. Telephone
9. Automated electronic defibrillator


[See the article for detailed instruction on performing the test.]

Interpreting Single Measurements of Functional Status

Optimal reference equations from healthy population-based
samples using standardized 6MWT methods are not yet available. In one study, the median 6MWD was approximately 580 m for 117 healthy men and 500 m for 173 healthy women (50). A mean 6MWD of 630 m was reported by another study of 51 healthy older adults (55). Differences in the population sampled, type and frequency of encouragement, corridor length,
and number of practice tests may account for reported differences in mean 6MWD in healthy persons. Age, height, weight, and sex independently affect the 6MWD in healthy adults; therefore, these factors should be taken into consideration when interpreting the results of single measurements made to determine functional status. We encourage investigators to publish reference equations for healthy persons using the previously mentioned standardized procedures.

A low 6MWD is nonspecific and nondiagnostic. When the
6MWD is reduced, a thorough search for the cause of the impairment is warranted. The following tests may then be helpful: pulmonary function, cardiac function, ankle–arm index, muscle strength, nutritional status, orthopedic function, and cognitive function.

The 6-min walk distance in healthy subjects: reference standards from seven countries. [PubMed Abstract] [Full Text HTML] [Full Text PDF]. European Respiratory Journal, January 1, 2011 vol. 37 no. 1 150-156

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY SCALE FOR THE ELDERLY (PASE)–an activity questionnaire. [PubMed Abstract] [Full Text PDF]

Excellent brief summary of the literature of the Physical Activity Scale for the Elderly (PASE) from–The Rehabilitation Measures Database.

Polar H7 Bluetooth Smart Heart Rate Sensor. A relatively inexpensive heart rate monitor that can be used with an i-phone app. Heart Rate Monitors USA is one of many online vendors.

Mio Link Heart Rate Band Electric goes on the wrist and monitors heart rate without a chest strap and hooks up with phone app via bluetooth

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