Field Exercise Testing: 6-Minute Walk and Shuttle Walk Tests

  • Annemarie L. LeeEmail author
  • Theresa Harvey-Dunstan
  • Sally Singh
  • Anne E. Holland
Part of the Respiratory Medicine book series (RM)


In people with chronic lung disease, the assessment of exercise capacity gives important information that can assist with staging disease, assessing prognosis, and evaluating effects of therapy. Field walking tests are a useful alternative to laboratory-based exercise tests as they require minimal equipment and can be performed across many settings where people with chronic respiratory disease receive their care. The 6-minute walk test is a self-paced test of functional exercise capacity that is widely used across many disease groups. The 6-minute walk test is reliable and valid; however, it is sensitive to small changes in methodology, and therefore standardization is required. The incremental shuttle walk test is a measure of peak exercise capacity. It is externally paced according to auditory cues, allowing very good standardization. The endurance shuttle walk test is a constant speed test that is particularly sensitive for detecting changes following interventions. This chapter details the measurement properties of each field walking test, protocols to ensure standardized conduct, strategies to interpret results, and clinical examples of their application.


Exercise testing 6-minute walk test Incremental shuttle walk test Endurance shuttle walk test Standardization 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Annemarie L. Lee
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Theresa Harvey-Dunstan
    • 4
    • 5
  • Sally Singh
    • 4
    • 5
  • Anne E. Holland
    • 3
    • 6
    • 7
  1. 1.Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash UniversityFrankstonAustralia
  2. 2.Rehabilitation, Nutrition and Sport, La Trobe UniversityBundooraAustralia
  3. 3.Institute for Breathing and Sleep, Austin HealthHeidelbergAustralia
  4. 4.Centre for Exercise and Rehabilitation Science, NIHR Leicester Biomedical Research Centre – Respiratory, Glenfield HospitalLeicesterUK
  5. 5.Faculty of the College of Medicine, Biological Sciences and Psychology, University of LeicesterLeicesterUK
  6. 6.Alfred HealthMelbourneAustralia
  7. 7.Department of Rehabilitation, Nutrition and Sport, La Trobe UniversityBundooraAustralia

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