The six-minute walk test (6MWT) measures the distance an individual is able to walk over a total of six minutes on a hard, flat surface. The goal is for the individual to walk as far as possible in six minutes. The individual is allowed to self-pace and rest as needed as they traverse back and forth along a marked walkway.
The original purpose of the six minute walk was to test exercise tolerance in chronic respiratory disease and heart failure. The test has since been used as a performance-based measure of functional exercise capacity in other populations including healthy older adults.