The Six Minute Walk Test is used to evaluate your mobility and endurance. These are crucial measurements for you to determine how you are doing as compared to those with normal health and mobility. Instructions are presented below, but it is a very simple evaluation. Walk for six (6) minutes, measure the distance and record the information in the tool below.
1. Six Minute Walk Test
The Six Minute Walk Test (6 MWT)
Description: The 6 Minute Walk Test is a measure of endurance.
Equipment: Stopwatch, rolling tape measure, long hallway or loop walkway
Patient Instructions: “I am going to measure how far you can walk in 6 minutes. When I say ‘go’, I want you to walk around the hallway (track) for 6 minutes. Keep walking until I say ‘stop’ or until you are too tired to go any further. If you need to rest, you can stop until you feel ready to go again. You may also lean against the wall if necessary, but you should resume walking as soon as you are able. Remember that the object is to walk AS FAR AS POSSIBLE for 6 minutes, but don’t run or jog. I will let you know at 2 minutes, 4 minutes, and when you have one minute left. You can begin when I say ‘go’.”
Therapist Instructions: Time the subject for 6 minutes, then say “stop.” Measure the distance walked.
Steps vs. Feet: To make this easy you can use any step measurement device (like Fitbit, Apple Watch, pedometer) to do this test based on the formulas we created for you below. Depending on your height each stride makes more or less feet. Based on your height you can enter in steps to find out how many feet you have walked. This is not perfect as each person’s stride is slightly different, but will accomplish our goals here.
Results: Start Here
Results: Enter Your Steps
Use the information above and the key below to determine how your score compares to the norms. Start with the row that represents your age. Then choose the appropriate column for gender. Compare the total feet that you took in 6 minutes to determine if you are in the normative range. A higher number means you walk like a younger person. A lower number means you are below the norm for your age and gender.
When Taking the Test Be Aware of the Following
1. Chest pain or tightness)
2. Any of the following symptoms
- Ataxia, staggering unsteadiness
- Marked dyspnea (shortness of breath)
- Unusual fatigue
- Signs of peripheral circulatory insufficiency
- Claudication (pain caused by too little blood flow) or other significant pain
- Facial expressions signifying distress
3. Abnormal cardiacresponses
- Systolic BP drops > 10mmHg
- Systolic BP rises to >250mmHg
- Diastolic BP rises to > 120 mmHg
- Heart rate drops more than 15 beats per minute (given the subject was walking the last minutes of the test versus resting)
American Thoracic Society (2002). ATS Statement: Guidelines for the Six Minute Walking Test. American Journal of Respiratory Critical Care Medicine 166, 111-117
Rikli, Roberta and C. Jessie Jones. Senior Fitness “Test” Manual. Human Kinetics, 2001. Print.
The Value of An Active Lifestyle
There is tremendous value in activity and motion, as you can read in the work of John McKay, RN. As quoted in his article Want To Live Longer? You May Want To Start From The Ground Up: “The advancements our medical community has made is nothing short of remarkable. We have medications, surgeries and therapy’s. These can cure or treat almost every injury or disease mother nature can throw at us. But outside of taking a pill or having an operation, an increase in leg strength can increase how long you live as well as your quality of life as you age.” To read the article click here.
To learn more schedule a call with one of our knee experts – it’s free. Just click here. There are more online knee assessment tools, beyond the Six Minute Walk Test, that we can discuss on our call with you.
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Consider signing up for our blog. In this one-of-a-kind blog we gather together great thinkers, doers, and writers. All our work is related to knee surgery, knee recovery, knee surgery preparation, after surgery care, success and failure. We create articles and tools like the Timed Up and Go Mobility Assessment here.
Or maybe you just want to take care of your knees to avoid surgery. To learn about the X10 Knee Recovery System, click here. Executive Editor: PJ Ewing