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Healthy Living

6 Minute Walk

The six-minute walk test is generally used at the start of a Pulmonary Rehabilitation program and/or in the evaluation of lung transplant. The results of the test are helpful in setting up an exercise program that designed to meet your needs.

The object of this test is to walk for as far as possible for 6 minutes. You will walk back and forth on a flat surface such as a hallway. Six minutes is a long time to walk, so you will be exerting yourself. You will probably get out of breath of become exhausted. You are permitted to slow down, to stop, and to rest as necessary. You may lean against the wall while resting, but resume walking as soon as you are able.

What you need to do before the test

  • Comfortable clothing should be worn.
  • Wear shoes that are comfortable to walk in , such as tennis shoes.
  • You may use your usual walking aids during the test (cane, walker, etc.).
  • Take your medications as prescribed.
  • You may eat a light meal before early morning or early afternoon tests.
  • Do not exercise vigorously within 2 hours of beginning the test

What happens during this test?

You will be asked to familiarize yourself with the Modified Borg Scale (See Borg Scale listed below). This scale is way of rating your degree of breathlessness and/or difficult, uncomfortable or labored breathing as well as fatigue level. You will be asked to use the Borg Scale before, during and after your walk.

Modified Borg Scale

0

No Breathlessness, Nothing at all

0.5

Very, very slight (just noticeable)

1

Very Slight

2

Slight Breathlessness

3

Moderate

4

Somewhat severe

5

Severe Breathlessness

6

 

7

Very Severe Breathlessness

8

 

9

Very, very severe Breathlessness

10

Maximum Breathlessness

  • If you use oxygen to walk with you will be asked to carry or push you oxygen tank.
  • You may use a cane or walker during this test but you will not be able use the assistance of another person. 
  • Your blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, and resting blood saturation by pulse oximetry will be taken after the test.
  • Your oxygen saturation will be taken during your walk.

References:

Guidelines for the Six-Minute Walk Test (PDF)
American Thoracic Society
Accessed 09-11-06

The Six-Minute Walk Test
Paul L Enright MD
RESPIRATORY CARE • AUGUST 2003 VOL 48 NO 8
Accessed 09-11-06

The Six-Minute Walk Test (PDF)
 Janet C. Sclafani, RRT, RPFT
AARC T?mes February 2000
Accessed 09-11-06

© 2014 American Association for Respiratory Care