Six-Minute Walk

In the Health app on iOS 14.4, there is an item called Six-Minute Walk. It seems like something that Apple ought to be computing automatically, but it says “No Data.” Does anyone know what is required to get it to work?

The six-minute walk test is an established functional test used in clinical trials, among other places. I assume that this item stores any six-minute-walk test results returned from your medical provider.


1 Like

While possible, I think that’s unlikely. There is no hint in the “About Six-Minute Walk” blurb in the Health app that it simply records data from an outside source. When you go for a walk using the Fitness app it knows how long you walk and how far you travel. It could easily take a 6-minute measurement. It says, “You can get a predicted six-minute walk distance up to 500 meters using data from a device, such as Apple Watch.” I wear my Apple Watch when I go for walks and I use the Workout app on the Watch to record my walks. I carry my iPhone also, which has GPS. I just don’t see how to get it to do a 6-minute walk test.

OK–so I decided to Google and see what I could come up with specific to the 6MW test and Apple Watch. Apparently the Six-Minute Walk number given by the Apple Watch is an estimate of what your performance/distance on the formal six-minute walk test, derived from your other physical activity over a 1 week period.

Specifically, the screen shot description there begins: “This is an estimate of how far you can walk on flat ground in six minutes based on a week of your motion and workout data.” So if there’s no result, it may be because there isn’t enough data in the watch yet to make an estimate. It does not seem that the watch actually measures your distance over six minutes and gives you an actual result, but that it derives an estimated result from other data.


1 Like

I have several entries on mine. They are all on a Friday - 11/13, 11/20, 11/27, 12/4, 12/11. Then 12/25, 1/1, 1/8. Nothing since then.

I have nothing in common those measures. I am a runner but had runner’s knee during much of that time and did nothing but cycling workouts from 11/30 to 1/12. I did a few walking workouts the week of 1/12 but there is no entry for that week. I didn’t do a workout on 12/25 (I always take Christmas off) but I’ve not missed a day other than 12/25. I’ve been cycling and running since the week of 1/12.

So, no, I don’t know what the Health app uses to compute these. (They are all showing 500 meters for me by the way.)

Thanks, Dave. Maybe something will show up eventually.

Doug, the “About Six-Minute Walk” blurb on the Health indicates 500 meters is the upper limit of what they will predict. It sounds like you are way more fit than the ordinary person. :grinning:

Another interesting tidbit: when looking at data sources for this measure, it’s never from the Apple Watch (which I wear about 22 hours per day.) The source is always from my iPhone. The last three were always within a few minutes of 7:15 am; the first three within a few minutes of 10:45 am.

The “normal” ranges for the 6-minute walk test go from ~550–700 m for people in their 40s to ~500–625 for people in their 70s. It’s generally done to monitor functional capacity of the lungs or heart in states of compromise. I’m currently editing a research article using it with patients with pacemakers and left ventricular assist devices, and the subjects averaged ~300 m.