gms | German Medical Science

Physical activity and successful aging
10th International EGREPA Conference

European Group for Research into Elderly and Physical Activity

14.09. - 16.09.2006 in Köln

Validity of the 6-minute walk test related to time to fatigue in older women

Meeting Abstract

  • corresponding author S. Gobbi - State University of Sao Paulo, Brazil
  • G.F. Coutinho - University of Paraiba State, Brazil
  • L.T. Bucken Gobbi - State University of Sao Paulo, Brazil
  • M.M. Oliani - State University of Sao Paulo, Brazil

Physical activity and successful aging. Xth International EGREPA Conference. Cologne, 14.-16.09.2006. Düsseldorf, Köln: German Medical Science; 2006. Doc06pasa044

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Veröffentlicht: 18. Dezember 2006

© 2006 Gobbi et al.
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Physical activity can contribute to maintain or even to improve endurance, to preserve independence and to cope with daily life activities for longer time with lower levels of fatigue, consequently. In this context, the evaluation of cardio respiratory endurance and walk ability assumes relevant importance. Therefore, the analysis of validity of field tests aiming to measure endurance and walk ability is a necessary criterion for test selection. Since higher levels of endurance are expected to postpone the time to fatigue during moderate levels of physical exertion, then the time to fatigue is assumed to be a good criterion to analyse the validity of field motor tests designed to measure endurance. One of these tests designed for older people and used worldwide extensively is the 6-min walk test (6-MWT; Rikli & Jones, 1998).


The aim of this study was to analyse the validity of the 6-MWT related to time to fatigue in the elderly.


Thirty-two female volunteers (mean age 61.68 years; living independently; physically active) participated in the study. They performed the 6-MWT on a 400-meter athletic track by walking as fast as possible. Their time to fatigue was assessed by means of the Balke modified by Cooper (BMBC; Cooper, 1982) protocol on a treadmill (5.6 km • h-1; 0% elevation with increments of 1% per minute), and it was interrupted when the participant reported exhaustion and was unable to continue.


The results were a) 553.69 ± 55.17 meters for the 6-MWT, and 12:37 ± 5:20 minutes:seconds for the BMBC. The Pearson's analysis of correlation showed moderate correlation (r= 0.56; p<0.05) between time to fatigue and meters walked. The standard error of the estimate was 46.48 seconds.


It was concluded that the 6-min walk test presents only moderate validity when time to fatigue is used as a criterion in older women. This conclusion can help professionals and exercise leaders when programming and evaluating physical activity for the elderly. Furthermore, future studies need to be carried out to analyse the validity of other field tests by using time to fatigue as a criterion.

Acknowledgments: FAPESP (99/02175-3); FUNDUNESP; CAPES - Minter UFPB-UNESP.