Background: The six-minute walk test is an integrated measure of cardiopulmonary and musculoskeletal systems and exercise capacity. Healthcare providers usually performed the test on a 10-meter track instead of a 30-meter track due to space constraints. This study examined the influence of track length of 10 meters and 30 meters tracks on the 6MWT and cardiopulmonary indices in healthy adults and validates a reference equation for 6MWT on Arab populations.
Methods: An experimental randomized crossover study was conducted on healthy participants in this study. Participants with resting blood pressure reading >140/90 mmHg and body mass index >35 kg/m2 were excluded. Participants performed the test on 10 meters and 30 meters tracks and repeated the test one week later in reverse order. The rate of perceived exertion and heart rate were recorded pre-and post-test. Participants underwent resting blood pressure and spirometry measurements before the test.
Results: Participants covered a greater distance and lower number of turns on a 30 meters track than the 10 meters track (p<0.001). Heart rate and rate of perceived exertion increased significantly post the test. The current reference equation for 6MWT underestimated the distance covered on a 30 meters track (p<0.001).
Conclusion: The track length had a substantial influence on the walking distance. The number of turns significantly affected the distance walked. The existing reference equation for an Arab population underestimates the walking distance on a 30 meters track.
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