Does the 6-minute walk test predicts functional capacity in a sample of elderly women? A pilot-study
Introduction: Functional capacity is the capacity to conduct daily activities in an independent way. It can be estimated with the 6-minutes’ walk test (6MWT) and other validated functional tests.
Objectives: Verify associations between functional capacity measured with two different instruments (6MWT and Composite Physical Function (CPF) scale) and levels of physical activity and between those and characterization variables.
Methods: This sample consisted of 30 apparently healthy elderly women from Loures municipality. Essentially they should be independent and community-dwelling. Characterization data were collected, containing characterization of physical activity levels and anthropometric data. Functional capacity was assessed with CPF scale and distance walked by the 6MWT. Results were analysed using a SPSS v21.0 through correlation tests.
Results: The walked distance in 6MWT was positively associated with height (r = 0.406; p = 0.026), physical activity level (r = 0.594; p = 0.001) and functional capacity (r = 0.682; p = 0.000). For each point more obtained in CPF, the distance walked increases on average by 7.5 meters. Relatively to sedentary participants, being insufficiently active increases, on average, the distance walked in 85.8 meters; and being active increases, on average, the distance walked in 108.8 meters. No other associations were observed in our sample.
Conclusion: Based on the collected sample, walked distance in 6MWT has a high correlation with results in CPF scale, so this test can be used to predict functional capacity. More attention should be taken to promote strategies to increase walking in older adults.
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