Gait speed assessed by a 4-m walk test is not representative of daily-life gait speed in community-dwelling adults.


Neuroscience Research Australia, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. Electronic address: [Email]


OBJECTIVE : Standardized tests of gait speed are regarded as being of clinical value, but they are typically performed under optimal conditions, and may not reflect daily-life gait behavior. The aim of this study was to compare 4-m gait speed to the distribution of daily-life gait speed.
METHODS : The cross-sectional Grey Power cohort included 254 community-dwelling participants aged 18 years or more.
METHODS : Pearson's correlations were used to compare gait speed assessed using a timed 4-m walk test at preferred pace, and daily-life gait speed obtained from tri-axial lower-back accelerometer data over seven consecutive days.
RESULTS : Participants (median age 66.7 years [IQR 59.4-72.5], 65.7% female) had a mean 4-m gait speed of 1.43 m/s (SD 0.21), and a mean 50th percentile of daily-life gait speed of 0.90 m/s (SD 0.23). Ninety-six percent had a bimodal distribution of daily-life gait speed, with a mean 1st peak of 0.61 m/s (SD 0.15) and 2nd peak of 1.26 m/s (SD 0.23). The percentile of the daily-life distribution that corresponded best with the individual 4-m gait speed had a median value of 91.2 (IQR 75.4-98.6). The 4-m gait speed was very weakly correlated to the 1st and 2nd peak (r = 0.005, p = 0.936 and r=0.181, p = 0.004), and the daily-life gait speed percentiles (range: 1st percentile r = 0.076, p = 0.230 to 99th percentile r = 0.399, p < 0.001; 50th percentile r = 0.132, p = 0.036).
CONCLUSIONS : The 4-m gait speed is only weakly related to daily-life gait speed. Clinicians and researchers should consider that 4-m gait speed and daily-life gait speed represent two different constructs.


Accelerometry,Gait,Motor control,Physical activity,Physical performance,

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