Assessing the walking speed of older adults: The influence of walkway length

Sheung Mei Shamay Ng, Phoebe C M Ng, Connie Y W Lee, Elva S W Ng, Mimi H W Tong, Shirley S M Fong, Wai Nam Tsang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of walkway length (5, 8, or 10 m) on measurements of comfortable and maximum walking speed in healthy older adults. DESIGN: In this cross-sectional study at a university-based rehabilitation center, 25 healthy older adults (mean age, 60.3 ± 8.3 yrs) participated in timed walking at both comfortable and maximum speeds with different walkway lengths (5-, 8-, and 10-m walkway distances) measured by a stopwatch. RESULTS: Walkway length did not affect either comfortable walking speed (P = 0.319) or maximum walking speed (P = 0.568). For all walkway lengths, comfortable speed was significantly different from maximum speed (P < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Different walkway lengths (5, 8, and 10 m) do not affect both comfortable and maximum walking speed and can yield consistent results in measuring gait speed clinically. A 5-m walkway with standardized 2-m acceleration and 2-m deceleration distances is recommended because it occupies less space and imposes less stress on the healthy older adults.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)776-780
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2013


  • Elderly
  • Speed
  • Walking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Medicine(all)


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