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  1. Chuang, Chiung-Ying MS, PT
  2. Lin, Shu-Yuan PhD, RN
  3. Li, Min-Hui PhD, MD
  4. Chang, Ya-Ju PhD, PT
  5. Hsu, Miao-Ju PhD, PT


Background: Comparative studies on the six-minute walk test during overground (6MWT-C) versus treadmill (6MWT-T) are limited, and the minimal detectable change (MDC) of 6MWT-T in older adults is lacking. This study was conducted to compare the distance of 6MWT-C with that of 6MWT-T in community-dwelling older adults and to explore the factors associated with the distance discrepancy between the 2 types of 6MWT.


Methods: Forty community-dwelling older adults were recruited. Lower-limb muscle strength and balance (Berg Balance Scale, BBS) were assessed. The subjects randomly received 6MWT-C and 6MWT-T and returned to repeat the testing within 1 week. Physiological responses were collected before and after 6MWTs.


Results: The distance of 6MWT-C was significantly greater than that of 6MWT-T. The MDC of 6MWT-C and 6MWT-T was 54.08 and 56.54 m, respectively. The distance discrepancy of the 2 types of 6MWT was not associated with lower-limb muscle strength or BBS score.


Conclusion: Compared with 6MWT-C, 6MWT-T is reliable and has similar MDC in community-dwelling older adults. However, the distances of the 2 types of 6MWT are not interchangeable.