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The six-minute walk (fitness check)

The clinical exercise specialist will ask you to go on a six-minute walk at the start and end of the STAMINA programme to measure the change in your fitness over time. Details of the walk will be provided to you in your induction session and you will be prompted when to do the walk. Below we outline some top tips to help you get prepared.


1. Planning the route

You will be asked to walk outdoors for six minutes. We recommend identifying a route that is:

  • familiar to you

  • has well-maintained footpaths

  • in a location you feel safe, e.g., a local park

  • is between 300 and 800m (half a mile) in distance


We recommend you try to avoid choosing a route that:

  • requires you to cross a road

  • is hilly

  • is rocky under foot

2. Preparing for the walk

You will be provided with several days to complete the walk. We recommend that you choose a date and time when the surfaces are not too wet or slippery and the temperature is not too hot (over 25°C) or cold (under 6°C) (where possible).

Please dress appropriately for the conditions and consider that you may warm up during the walk. You may prefer to do the test at a time of day when the route may be quieter.

You may choose to drive, cycle or take public transport to get to your walking location. If you plan to walk to the start point, aim to walk at a gentle pace to conserve your energy for the timed walk.

On the day of the walk please refrain from drinking alcohol or consuming caffeine for up to 10 hours beforehand.


3. Completing the walk

The clinical exercise specialist will ask you to use your Garmin watch and chest strap during your walk as a measure of total distance travelled. Please follow the steps below:

  • To start the watch, press the runner button once (top right), then press the down button (bottom right) four times until the walk icon appears

  • Press the runner button to select the walking mode on your watch.

  • The watch will then search for a GPS signal – during this process you may see the word ‘wait’ on your watch screen.

  • When a GPS connection has been established, the watch will say “Ready” and you may feel/ hear it vibrate. Your watch is now ready to monitor the distance you walk.


  • When you are ready to start the 6-minute walk, press the runner button (top right). You will see a screen that says “Start”. Press the runner button (top right) again to start recording your walk.


  • When you watch displays that you have been walking for 6 minutes, please press the runner button to end the walk then select the ‘save’ option.

Note – You may struggle to establish a GPS signal indoors. Please follow this process outdoors.

This activity is low risk. However, if you do not wish to complete the walk please notify your clinical exercise specialist. It is not compulsory.  

Please stop the walk if you experience any of the following:

  1. Unexpected chest pain

  2. intolerable breathlessness

  3. leg cramps

  4. staggering

  5. excessive sweating

  6. pale appearance (different to normal)


If any of these occur, please contact your clinical exercise specialist as soon as possible and report this to them.

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