Background: The six-minute walk test (6MWT) is used within clinical and research settings to assess gait performance across a variety of conditions and populations. Commonly, the test is used to identify specific aspects of gait that affect functional mobility. With the advancement of new technologies such as wireless inertial sensors, it has become possible to collect reliable, sensitive, and objective measures of gait. While the 6MWT has been accepted and used for many years, a more concise, while still objective gait analysis would likely benefit clinicians, researchers and patients. Research Question: Does a concise 2-minute walk test (2MWT) provide similar information regarding gait performance and gait differences as the 6MWT in healthy young (YA) and older adults (OA)? Methods: A total of thirty-one participants (sixteen young adults and fifteen older adults) conducted a continuous 6MWT at their self-selected pace. All participants wore six wireless inertial sensors which were placed on each foot, at the lumbar, sternum, and on each wrist. Once completed the 6MWT data was spliced into three, distinct two-minute segments. Spliced data was analyzed and compared between groups and segments. Results: Results demonstrate significant age-related differences in several gait metrics, primarily with older adults showing increased spatiotemporal variability. Additionally, no significant differences were observed between the three, two-minute segments and the continuous 6MWT, with the exception of total number of strides completed. Significance: These results demonstrate that the 2MWT may provide a preferable alternative to assessing gait performance by reducing confounds such as fatigue while maintaining sensitivity of measuring gait performance. These improvements may be particularly beneficial when studying populations of advanced age or with neurological disorder.
- Six minute walk test
- Two minute walk test
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine