The purpose of this study was to determine the metabolic stress of a self-paced half-mile walk test incorporated in the AAHPERD functional fitness assessment for older adults. Forty-three subjects, aged 57 to 75, completed a half-mile walk on an indoor track (IT) and during a treadmill simulation (TS) of the track walk. Treadmill data indicated that subjects exercised at a mean VO2 of 14.7 ml · kg−1 · min−1 and mean heart rate (b · min−1) of 129. A significant difference (p ≤ .05) was found between IT and TS on rating of perceived exertion. Results indicate that older subjects selected a pace that stressed their cardiorespiratory system without producing severe fatigue or medical complications. Therefore, the half-mile walk test appears to be a safe test that may be incorporated in functional fitness testing. However, its ability to determine functional capacity needs further study.
The authors are with the Department of Physical Education, Indiana State University, Terre Haute, IN 47809.