Six minute walk distance in healthy subjects aged 55-75 years

Bernadine Camarri, Peter R. Eastwood, Nola M. Cecins, Philip J. Thompson, Sue Jenkins

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221 Citations (Scopus)


Backgound: The six minute walk test (6MWT) is the most commonly used exercise test in pulmonary rehabilitation; however, the paucity of six minute walk distance (6MWD) reference values from population-based samples limits data interpretation in patients. This study was undertaken to determine 6MWD in a population-based sample of healthy subjects and to identify predictors of 6MWD in this group. Methods: Seventy Caucasian subjects (33 males) aged 55-75 years performed three tests using a standardised protocol. 6MWD was defined as the greatest distance achieved from the three tests. Other measurements included height, leg length, weight, forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1), exhaled carbon monoxide and self-reported physical activity including habitual walking. Results: The average 6MWD was 659±62 m (range 484-820 m). Males walked 59±13 m further than females (P < 0.001). Height (r = 0.54, P < 0.01), weight (r = 0.25, P < 0.05) and FEV1 (r = 0.48, P < 0.001) were significantly correlated with 6MWD. Forwards stepwise multiple regression showed height (R2 change = 0.294) and FEV1 (R2 change=0.045) to be independent predictors of 6MWD (P < 0.05), explaining 33.9% of the variance. Conclusions: 6MWD in this healthy population-based sample of males and females exceeds values previously reported. Height and FEV1 were identified as significant independent predictors of 6MWD in this group.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)658-665
Number of pages8
JournalRespiratory Medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2006
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank the Centre for Asthma, Allergy and Respiratory Research for assistance in subject recruitment and Dr. Marie Blackmore for methodological and statistical assistance. We also thank the Physiotherapy Department at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital for allowing us to use their facilities and each subject for their generous participation in this research. This study was funded, in part, by a Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital Research Grant and NHMRC (Australia) Grant no. 212016. Dr. Peter Eastwood was supported by a NHMRC R. Douglas Wright Fellowship (No. 294404).

Copyright 2008 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Exercise test
  • Healthy subjects
  • Six minute walk distance
  • Six minute walk test
  • Walk tests


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