Groningen Walking Test

The Groningen Walking Test is an aerobic fitness test, a variation of the maximal multistage 20m shuttle-run test (Leger & Lambert, 1982) adapted in order to suit an elderly population. The beep test was modified as the frequent sharp turns at both ends of the 20m shuttle may strain the knees and joints of the elderly participants. This test is part of the protocol for the Groningen Fitness Test for the Elderly.

purpose: to measure aerobic fitness in the elderly.

equipment required: large flat non-slip area, tape recorder or cd player, a cassette tape or cd of the protocol, three yellow and three orange marker cones, measuring tape.

pre-test: Explain the test procedures to the subject. Perform screening of health risks and obtain informed consent. Prepare forms and record basic information such as age, height, body weight, gender, test conditions. Measure and mark out the test area. Perform an appropriate warm-up. See more details of pre-test procedures.

procedure: A rectangular course is marked out with the dimensions 16 2/3 x  8 1/3 meters, equaling a perimeter of 50 m. Cones of alternating color are placed every 8 1/3 m. The participants walk counterclockwise around the course, with the walking speed indicated by audible beeps. Between each two beeps the participant must walk 16 2/3 m (one stage) from one cone to the next cone of the same color. The test starts off with a walking speed of 4 km/hr. Every third minute, the pace is increased by 1 km/hr to a maximum of 7 km/hr. The test ends when the participant gives up or is unable to keep up the pace (e.g., when they are more than 3 m from a cone at two consecutive beeps) or successfully completes the last stage.

scoring: The score is the number of 16 2/3 meter stages completed - the maximum possible score is 66. Higher scores indicate better performance.

advantages: this test is at a easy level suitable for the target population, and the smaller turning angles better suit the elderly subjects

target population: this test was designed specifically for the elderly population.

comments: The walking test is not a maximal test for every participant, especially for the younger and fitter participants. The walking test takes 15 min and can be done by up to 12 participants at a time with three examiners.

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