Six Minute Walk Test :
This test requires you to walk up and down a long flat corridor for 6 minutes to see how far you can walk. You will be able to walk at your own pace and can stop and rest as many times as you need to.
This is not a treadmill test and you will not be expected to run or jog. If you use walking aids, for example a walking stick, you will be able to use this as normal.
You will be asked how breathless you feel at the beginning of the test and then at the end of the test.
During the walk your oxygen levels may be monitored by a small probe placed on your finger. This is not painful, but will establish if your oxygen level remains constant whilst exercising.
The original purpose of the six minute walk was to test exercise tolerance in chronic respiratory disease and heart failure. The test has since been used as a performance-based measure of functional exercise capacity in other populations including healthy older adults, people undergoing knee or hip arthroplasty, fibromyalgia, and scleroderma. It has also been used with children.
General Description :
The six-minute walk test (6MWT) measures the distance an individual is able to walk over a total of six minutes on a hard, flat surface. The goal is for the individual to walk as far as possible in six minutes. The individual is allowed to self-pace and rest as needed as they traverse back and forth along a marked walkway.
Other Uses :
The 6MWT has also been used to detect changes following interventions to improve exercise tolerance for healthy older adults as well as people with rheumatic conditions such as knee or hip osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia. The 6MWT has been used with a variety of other conditions such as heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and stroke. It has also been used to predict hospitalization and mortality.