Ursidae: The Undergraduate Research Journal at the University of Northern Colorado

Faculty Sponsor

Dan Shackelford


Peak oxygen consumption (VO2peak) is critical for developing and implementing an exercise prescription to guide a cancer survivor’s rehabilitative exercise program, which will improve physiological and psychological values in cancer survivors. Many clinicians choose a submaximal protocol, the 6 Minute Walk Test (6MWT) to determine VO2peak. The University of Northern Colorado Cancer Rehabilitation Institute’s (UNCCRI) treadmill protocol is cancer-specific and accurately determines VO2peak. PURPOSE: To determine the validity of VO2peak obtained from the 6MWT compared to the VO2peak obtained by the UNCCRI treadmill protocol. METHODS: 34 cancer survivors completed the UNCCRI treadmill protocol and the 6MWT in randomized order one week apart. VO2peak derived from the four commonly used equations for the 6MWT were compared to VO2peak obtained from the UNCCRI treadmill protocol. RESULTS: All four 6MWT’s equation mean differences significantly underestimated VO2peak compared to the UNCCRI treadmill protocol (p <0.001). Cancer survivors also exercised at a higher intensity executing the UNCCRI treadmill protocol. CONCLUSION: The 6MWT significantly underestimates VO2peak, inhibits cancer survivors from training at a higher intensity level, and should not be used in formulating an exercise prescription. Clinicians should utilize the UNCCRI treadmill protocol.

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