DOI: 10.1093/ptj/82.2.128 ISSN:

Age- and Gender-Related Test Performance in Community-Dwelling Elderly People: Six-Minute Walk Test, Berg Balance Scale, Timed Up & Go Test, and Gait Speeds

Teresa M Steffen, Timothy A Hacker, Louise Mollinger
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


Background and Purpose. The interpretation of patient scores on clinical tests of physical mobility is limited by a lack of data describing the range of performance among people without disabilities. The purpose of this study was to provide data for 4 common clinical tests in a sample of community-dwelling older adults. Subjects. Ninety-six community-dwelling elderly people (61–89 years of age) with independent functioning performed 4 clinical tests. Methods. Data were collected on the Six-Minute Walk Test (6MW), Berg Balance Scale (BBS), and Timed Up & Go Test (TUG) and during comfortable- and fast-speed walking (CGS and FGS). Intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs) were used to determine the test-retest reliability for the 6MW, TUG, CGS, and FGS measurements. Data were analyzed by gender and age (60–69, 70–79, and 80–89 years) cohorts, similar to previous studies. Means, standard deviations, and 95% confidence intervals for each measurement were calculated for each cohort. Results. The 6MW, TUG, CGS, and FGS measurements showed high test-retest reliability (ICC [2,1]=.95–.97). Mean test scores showed a trend of age-related declines for the 6MW, BBS, TUG, CGS, and FGS for both male and female subjects. Discussion and Conclusion. Preliminary descriptive data suggest that physical therapists should use age-related data when interpreting patient data obtained for the 6MW, BBS, TUG, CGS and FGS. Further data on these clinical tests with larger sample sizes are needed to serve as a reference for patient comparisons.

More from our Archive