Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation

Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation

ISSN 2055-2386
Original Research

Effect of course length on 400 m Walk Test outcomes

Sabrina F. Stocker1†, Monique A. Samrani1†, Colton Rapp1†, Nathan W. Saunders2 and Megan D. Salvatore3*

*Correspondence: Megan D. Salvatore

†These authors contributed equally to this work.

1. Department of Human Performance and Sport Business student, University of Mount Union, USA.

Author Affiliations

2. Doctor of Physical Therapy Program, Baylor University, USA.

3. Department of Physical Therapy faculty, University of Mount Union, USA.


Background: The time taken to complete the 400 m Walk Test has been shown to be significantly correlated with mortality rate and overall health. However, the test may be difficult to administer using a standardized course length, and it is known that changing the course length influences the total time to complete the test. GOPT, a mobile phone application, allows for assessment of steady-state cadence, steadystate gait speed, and turn duration during a 400 m Walk Test, but it is presently unknown whether those outcomes are influenced by course length. It was hypothesized that steady-state gait characteristics and average turn duration would be unaffected by course length.

Methods: Twenty-one apparently healthy adults were recruited for this study (eight females: 43 to 79 years, and 13 males: 40 to 85 years). The testing took place on an indoor track with a hard surface made out of synthetic rubber. The subjects completed a 400 m Walk Test three times on a linear course with approximately 10 minutes of rest in between each trial. The three lengths used for the trials were 16, 20, and 25 m. Steady-state cadence, steady-state gait speed, turn duration, and total time were assessed using the GOPT mobile phone application. Repeated measures ANOVA was used to test for a main effect of the three course lengths on 400 m Walk Test outcomes.

Results: Steady-state cadence was shown to be unaffected by course length (132.3 +/- 12.4, 132.9 +/- 13.0, and 132.6 +/- 13.1 steps/min for the 16, 20, and 25 m courses, respectively). Course length did not significantly influence steady-state gait speed either (1.65 +/- 0.26, 1.67 +/- 0.27, and 1.67 +/- 0.26 m/s for the 16, 20, and 25 m courses, respectively). However, turn duration did significantly decrease with increasing course length (4.3 +/- 0.9, 4.2 +/- 0.9, and 4.1 +/- 0.8 s for the 16, 20, and 25 m courses, respectively). As expected, the total time of completion significantly decreased with increasing course length (281.7 +/- 51.6, 272.1 +/- 53.6, and 265.3 +/- 50.5 s for the 16, 20, and 25 m courses, respectively).

Conclusions: Course length was shown to be inversely related to 400 m Walk Test completion time. On the other hand, course lengths between 16 and 25 m appear to have no important effect on steady-state gait cadence, steady-state gait speed, or turn duration. Except for total time, a technician may use the 16, 20, and 25 m course lengths interchangeably when utilizing the GOPT app.

Keywords: Six Minute Walk Test, gait speed, cadence, turn duration

ISSN 2055-2386
Volume 7
Abstract Download