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J Cardiopulm Rehabil Prev. 2013 Sep-Oct;33(5):309-13. doi: 10.1097/HCR.0b013e3182a0297e.

Age-specific normal values for the incremental shuttle walk test in a healthy British population.

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Pulmonary Rehabilitation Research Group, University Hospitals of Leicester National Health Service Trust, Glenfield Hospital, Leicester, United Kingdom.



The Incremental Shuttle Walk Test (ISWT) is an important functional and prognostic marker in chronic disease. Aging has a detrimental effect on exercise performance. The objective of this study was to produce normal age-specific values for the ISWT in a healthy British population and to explore whether additional variables improve the accuracy of a predictive equation.


Healthy subjects (N = 152), aged 40 to 90 years, were recruited. Data collection occurred over 2 study visits. Anthropometric and demographic data were collected, and lung function and quadriceps maximal voluntary contraction were measured. An accelerometer was worn for 2 consecutive days at home. The Duke Activity Status Index was completed, and the greatest distance from 2 ISWTs was recorded.


One hundred forty subjects (56 men) with mean age (SD) of 59.4 (11.0) years completed 2 ISWTs. Forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV(1)) was 109.1% (14.56%) predicted and ISWT distance was 737 m (183 m). Age-specific normal values for the ISWT were observed: mean (lower limit of normal)--40 to 49 years, 824 m (765 m); 50 to 59 years, 788 m (730 m); 60 to 69 years, 699 m (649 m); and 70 years and older, 633 m (562 m). A predictive equation was developed from 114 subjects. Age, body mass index, FEV(1), quadriceps maximal voluntary contraction, and Duke Activity Status Index contributed to ISWT distance predicting 50.4% of the variation in performance.


We have developed age-specific normal values for performance on the ISWT in a healthy British population. However, even using practical, clinically relevant variables, it is not possible to accurately predict exercise capacity from a regression equation.

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