Gait Speed Testing as a way of Testing your Functional Strength and Capabilities.
Last week we talked about the stand-sit-stand test as a predictor of life longevity, that is, as a measure of functional strength. I promised I would explain some other tests that we also use as stand-alone tests to test functional strength and also in combinations with other tests to measure balance and falls risks. The timed gait test (Gait Speed or GS test) and the Timed Up and Go (TUG) and the Short Performance Physical Battery (SPPB) are all tests we use in different situations where we want to test a patient’s physical ability, strength or balance. We then look at the results in combination with the questions we have asked, and other tests of movement to determine the level of muscle weakness, functional strength, falls risk and ultimately what treatment we will use to maximise the health of the person.
So….. if you were unable to complete, or scored low on the stand-sit-stand test from last week, don’t panic!! In the clinic, we would look at these other outcome measures (tests) to fully assess you and get a complete picture of your physical health.
If you want to try out the Gait Speed test – you need to measure 5-10 m along the floor and mark it out. Then get a stopwatch and time how long it takes for you to walk the distance. The pathway needs to be in a straight line and you start from a stand-still. You get 2 attempts, and then we look at the quickest of the 2 attempts. To work out your gait time in metres per second you need to take the distance in metres and divide by the time it took to walk it. For example, if you measured 10m and it took you 9.8sec to walk it you would work out 10/9.8=1.02m/s. You can then look at the chart I have attached and see where you are. As you can see, 1.0m/s is a good cut-off for a healthy physical level predicting that you are able to complete your normal daily activities (ADLs), are ambulatory in the community, less likely to be hospitalised or have an adverse event such as a fall, carry groceries and carry out light work, and are likely to be independent with your self-care. (click on the image to read the full medical article).
If you score less than 1.0m/s I suggest you come to see us so that we can complete further testing and start a home program to improve your functional physical health and decrease your risks.
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