6 Minute Walk Test Calculator

Created by Joanna Michałowska, PhD candidate and Łucja Zaborowska, MD, PhD candidate
Reviewed by Dominik Czernia, PhD and Jack Bowater
Based on research by
ATS Statement Guidelines for the Six-Minute Walk Test American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine (July 2002)See 1 more source
Enright PL, Sherrill DL. Reference equations for the six-minute walk in healthy adults American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine (November 1998)
Last updated: Jul 11, 2022

The 6 minute walk test calculator provides reference values for the distance an adult should walk during six minutes. We use the 6 minute walk distance (6MWD) to assess a patient's functional status, their response to therapy, and for the prognosis of different cardiopulmonary conditions. Please read the article below to find out more about the six minute walk test (6MWT), its interpretation, and how to find the 6 minute walk test norms.

If you are interested in another test providing both diagnostic and prognostic information about patients with suspected coronary heart disease, please check the Duke treadmill score calculator. You can also check how many calories you burn by walking with our steps to calories calculator.

We try our best to make our Omni Calculators as precise and reliable as possible. However, this tool can never replace professional medical advice.

What is a six minute walk test (6MWT)?

A 6 minute walk test is a submaximal exercise test that measures the distance walked over the span of 6 minutes. This is a quick and inexpensive measure of physical function, as it reflects the capacity to perform everyday activities. It can be used to assess the functional status of patients, their response to treatment, and their prognosis. A patient's 6 minute walk distance is reduced by several types of diseases, including obstructive lung disease, heart failure, arthritis, and neuromuscular disease.

Advantages of 6 minute walk test:

  • Simplicity;
  • Low cost;
  • Easy to standardize; and
  • Low patient's burden (feasible even for elderly and frail patients).

A detailed description on how to perform a standardized six minute walk test can be found in the AST Guideline for the Six Minute Walk Test.

6 minute walk test - predicted distance equations

Distances walked by healthy adults may vary significantly. In 1998, Enright and colleagues created gender-specific equations to predict walking distance in healthy adults. To do that, they took measurements from 117 healthy men and 173 healthy women, aged 40 to 80 years.

We use the equations below to find the 6 minute walk test predicted distance 6MWD:

MEN:

6MWD = (7.57 * height) – (5.02 * age) – (1.76 * weight) – 309

WOMEN:

6MWD = (2.11 * height) – (2.29 * weight) – (5.78 * age) + 667

where,

6MWD - 6 minute walk distance, expressed in meters;

height - expressed in cm;

weight - expressed in kg; and

age - expressed in years.

Don't worry about switching between different units. Our 6 minute walk test calculator has a built-in converter.

6 minute walk test - norms

The equations described above predict the distance that a patient should walk based on their height, weight, age, and gender. The authors have determined the lower limits of the norm, which are:

MEN:

lower limit = 6MWD - 153

WOMEN:

lower limit = 6MWD - 139

where,

6MWD is the 6 minute walk distance expressed in meters.

A low 6MWT result is prognostically useful but is nondiagnostic, as it doesn't tell us the reason for a low result.

Factors the decrease and increase the 6MWT result:

Decreasing

Increasing

shorter height

taller height

female sex

male sex

older age

increased motivation

higher body weight

higher muscle mass

cardiovascular or pulmonary disease

past performance of the test

6 minute walk test calculator - a practical example

Let's see how the 6 minute walk test calculator works using an exemplary patient. He's 72 years old, 177 cm (5.8 ft) tall, and weighs 80 kg (176 lb). He performed a six minute walk test, and the distance he managed was 432 meters (328 ft). Let's check if that's the norm.

  1. We need to start by calculating 6 minute walk test predicted distance:

6MWD = (7.57 * height) – (5.02 * age) – (1.76 * weight) – 309

6MWD = (7.57 * 177 cm) – (5.02 * 72 yo) – (1.76 * 80 kg) – 309

6MWD = 1340 – 361 – 141 – 309

6MWD = 529 meters

  1. Now we can check if this result falls into 6 minute walk test norm:

lower limit = 6MWD - 153

lower limit = 529 - 153

lower limit = 376 meters

The patient result of 432 meters is above the lower limit.

  1. Finally, we can calculate percentage our patient managed compared to the expected distance of a healthy patient:

% expected = 423 / 529 * 100%

% expected = 0.82 * 100%

% expected = 82%

Joanna Michałowska, PhD candidate and Łucja Zaborowska, MD, PhD candidate
Gender
Man
Age
years
Height
ft
Weight
lb
6MWD in healthy person
m
Check your 6MWD
Distance walked
ft
Percent of expected distance
%
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