Is the six minute walk test effective and reliable for determining the fitness of young adults with Down syndrome?
The aim of this study is to evaluate whether or not fitness can be determined using a well-researched six minute walk test (6MWT) in a young adult population with Down syndrome (DS). This holds importance in today's health industry because this particular target group is at high risk for several cardiovascular, cognitive and clinical factors that contribute to their well-being and longevity. As well, the findings of this research could potentially contribute to the low volume of research that currently exists regarding fitness and the DS population and provide pertinent knowledge towards intervention programs. Fourteen participants with DS performed one 6MWT at a self-selected rate during an exercise intervention study to assess physical fitness. The results showed that walk distance increased with decreased BMI and walk distance increased with increased walking speed and increased leisure activity. These findings are clear indicators of physical fitness relating to healthy physical behavior. All results were consistent with past research in specific at-risk health related populations. This data suggests that this physical test is an adequate indicator of fitness levels in populations with DS, which may additionally provide explicit avenues for intervention and treatment to improve health.