The 6 Minute Walk Test is part of the Senior Fitness Test Protocol and is designed to test the functional fitness of seniors. It is an adaptation of the Cooper 12 minute Run. For people who use orthopedic devices when walking, as well as people who have difficulty balancing, there is an alternative 2 minute step in place test.
Purpose: The test is to measure aerobic fitness
Equipment required: measuring tape to mark out the track distances, stopwatch, chairs positioned for resting.
Procedure: The walking course is laid out in a 50 yard rectangular area, with cones placed at regular intervals to indicate distance walked. The aim of this test is to walk as quickly as possible for six minutes to cover as much ground as possible. Subjects are set their own pace (a preliminary trail is useful to practice pacing), and are able to stop for a rest if they desire.
Target Population: the aged population which may not be able to do traditional fitness tests
Advantages: minimal equipment and costs involved
Disadvantages: this test is too easy for the highly fit person. One of the other running tests would be better suited
The test should be terminated if the examined person reports dizziness, nausea, excessive fatigue, pain, or if the examiner notices any other symptoms of concern. The examiners should be trained in recognizing these symptoms and the necessary action plan should be in place in case of medical emergencies.