Reliability of the 6-minute walk test and cardiac autonomic markers in active and sedentary older women

André Igor Fonteles, Daniel Gomes da Silva Machado, Pedro Moraes Dutra Agrícola, Luiz Inácio Nascimento Neto, Sérgio Rodrigues Moreira, Hassan Mohamed Elsangedy, Cheng Hsin Nery Chao, Alexandre Hideki Okano


The aim of this study was to examine the reliability of the 6-minute walk test (6MWT) and post-exercise cardiac autonomic markers in physically active and sedentary older women. Eighteen physically active older women (64.2±3.1 years; 63.0±2.7 kg; 1.52±0.06 m; 26.9±2.7 kg.m-2) who performed Tai Chi Chuan for at least 6 months, and 18 sedentary older women (64.0±3.7 years; 63.8±8.9 kg; 1.49±0.05 m; 28.4±3.5 kg.m-2) were submitted to 6MWT in two separate occasions. Immediately after 6MWT, heart rate recovery at one (HRR1’) and two minutes (HRR2’), as well as the heart rate variability (HRV) were recoded. Reliability was verified by intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) with 95% confidence interval, Bland-Altman plots were used as a measure of agreement, and coefficient of variation (CV) was calculated. High reliability (ICC=0.86) was found for performance in 6MWT (528.8 ± 71.4 m and 473.2 ± 62.4 m; CV=7.9 and VC=8.5%) in both groups. Likewise, high reliability (ICC≥0.84 and ICC≥0.80) was found for HRR 1’ (29.0±11.0 bpm and 17.0±8.0 bpm; VC=30.1% and VC =40.2%) and HRR 2’ (36.0±10.0 bpm and 24.0±9.0 bpm; VC =23.7% and VC =22.8%) in both groups. Regarding HRV, moderate reliability was found in the active group (CCI≥0.57; VC =35-47%), while moderate-high reliability was found in the sedentary group (CCI=0.65-0.76; VC=34-69%). Agreement was found for all variables analyzed. In conclusion, post-exercise 6MWT, HRR, and HRV are reliable tools to assess functional capacity and cardiac autonomic control in physically active and sedentary older women.


Health in the elderly; Nervous system; Physical Fitness

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The abbreviated title of the journal is Rev. Bras. Cineantropom. Desempenho Hum, which should be used in bibliographies, footnotes and bibliographical references. E-ISSN 1980-0037, impressa ISSN 1415-8426, Florianópolis, Santa Catarina, Brazil. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.