Walkway length, but not turning direction, determines the six-minute walk test distance in individuals with stroke

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2011 May;92(5):806-11. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2010.10.033.


Objectives: To examine (1) the effect of different walkway distances, and (2) turning directions on the six-minute walk test (6MWT) in subjects with stroke.

Design: A cross-sectional study.

Setting: University-based rehabilitation center.

Participants: Subjects (N=26) with chronic stroke.

Interventions: Not applicable.

Main outcome measures: Total distance covered and number of turns in the 6MWT with different walkway lengths (10-, 20-, and 30-m walkway distances) and turning directions (turning to affected side and unaffected side); rate of perceived exertion (RPE) using Borg Scale, and heart rate (HR) using handheld pulse oximeter recorded before and immediately after the test.

Results: The distance covered and the number of turns in the 6MWT were significantly different between different walkway lengths (P<.05), with the longest distance covered and lowest number of turns in the 30-m walkway distance. For all walkway lengths, turning to the affected or unaffected side did not result in significant differences in the distance covered and the number of turns in the 6MWT. Significant increases were found between the pretest and posttest for the HR and RPE (P<.05) in all testing conditions. There was no significant effect of walkway distance and turning direction on the change in HR and RPE between the 6 conditions of the 6MWT.

Conclusions: Different walkway distances have a significant effect on the distance covered in the 6MWT, whereas turning direction did not significantly affect the distance covered in the 6MWT.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Physical Exertion
  • Physical Therapy Modalities*
  • Stroke / physiopathology
  • Stroke Rehabilitation*
  • Time Factors
  • Walking*