Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

Living Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan

6-Minute Walk Test

  • Kari DunningEmail author
  • Tamara Bushnik
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-56782-2_1964-2



The 6-minute walk test (6MWT) measures the distance (6MWD) that a person can quickly walk on a flat, hard surface in 6 min. The test is submaximal and self-paced, with rest breaks allowed as needed.

Historical Background

Historically, aerobic functional capacity has been evaluated by asking a person “how many flights of stairs can you climb?” or “how many blocks can you walk?” Due to poor reliability and validity of such questioning, more objective methods have been established. In 1963, Balke created a simple test of the distance a person could walk in a specified amount of time. In 1968, Cooper described a 12 min overground walking test for healthy individuals, which was adapted for patients with chronic bronchitis in 1976. The 6MWT was created to accommodate persons with respiratory disease for whom a 12 min span was excessive. The test has been adopted for use for persons with a wide range of different cardiopulmonary diseases as well as orthopedic...

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Rehabilitation SciencesUniversity of CincinnatiCincinnatiUSA
  2. 2.Inter-Hospital Research & Knowledge TranslationRusk RehabilitationNew YorkUSA