Fitness test on smartphone comparable to standardized clinical test


August 20, 2022

2 minute read

The study was partially funded by a doctoral grant from the Special Research Fund of the University of Hasselt. The authors report no relevant financial information.

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A free 6-minute smartphone walk test in the park showed results similar to standardized tests done at a clinic, researchers report in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

“This is the first trial showing that a free 6-minute walk test in the park is comparable to a traditional 6-minute walk test in predicting maximal oxygen uptake in cardiac rehabilitation patients,” Martijn Scherrenberg, MD, a digital health doctoral candidate in cardiology at Jessa Hospital in Hasselt, Belgium, and colleagues wrote. “Based on the current results, a free 6-minute walk test in the park is a valid alternative to a traditional 6-minute walk test. Therefore, the free 6-minute walk test in the park allows a determination and easy tracking of submaximal exercise capacity.This could be used in a cardiac telerehabilitation program to monitor and motivate participants.

While walking
Source: Adobe Stock

Using the finding from a previous study that the best algorithm in terms of accuracy and reliability is based on the Google Fit step count paired with a smartphone strapped to the participant’s arm, Scherrenberg and colleagues performed a sub- analysis based on this result.

Researchers performed a cardiopulmonary exercise test (CPET), and from there, 76 participants were selected to perform two further fitness tests to evaluate a tool to test their exercise capacity under maximum on their own.

The first was a 6-minute walk test (6MWT) on a flat, straight, fixed 30m course in a park. The second was a 6-minute free walking test in the park (FWP-6MWT) in which there was no path for participants to follow. In both tests, a researcher and a smartphone carried by the participant measured their distance traveled.

The association between FWP-6MWT and maximal oxygen consumption (VO2) was the main result.

Researchers found that FWP-6MWT distance was moderately associated with peak VO2 (r = 0.558; P 2 at ventilatory threshold 2 (r = 0.55; P r = 0.596; P

Difference in VO2 max was observed in multiple linear regression analysis, but smartphone-recorded 6MWT distance, gender, diabetes diagnosis, and HDL level can clarify 58.1% of VO variance2 maximum found.

Results from this smartphone-based FWP-6MWT show a “comparable direct correlation with CPET outcomes,” which occur in cardiac rehabilitation programs and measure maximal exercise capacity, the researchers wrote.

“This study demonstrates that reliable and valid technology is now also available to allow patients to self-perform standardized physical fitness tests in a non-standardized home setting,” Scherrenberg and colleagues wrote. “Free-walking 6MWTs could be part of a future in which patients begin an inpatient cardiac rehabilitation program, transition to a hybrid home-inpatient cardiac rehabilitation program, and then transition to a full long-term program. duration. long-term telerehabilitation program in which little intervention by caregivers is required. In this way, the right technology coupled with adequate patient empowerment can lead to cost-effective, high-quality home care.


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