iPhone gait analysis: What do gait statistics mean

aAt the end of the day, like many of us, I used to lie on my couch and open apps on my phone without thinking. Once I get bored of Instagram and Strava, I often open the Health app on my iPhone to check my daily stats. I’ll go through my time in bed, step count, heart rate change, and then I’ll scroll down through all the walking analysis numbers — but to be honest, that’s really all about me: the numbers. I don’t know what to look for, or what the stats really say. Does having 25.9 percent of my double support time mean I’m bad at walking?

For more context, I recently moved on to a call with trick glickD., BPT, Vice President of Physiotherapy and Patient Experience at OneStep, a digital physical therapy platform. Among other things, the company’s app uses gait analysis on smartphones to gather information about the general health of its patients.

“We look at various factors, such as the patient’s pace and stride length, the consistency of the patient’s walk, and how the step looks as opposed to the next,” Glick explains. Although OneStep PT experts only consider one parameter, combined as part of a bigger picture, these stats can tell a story. Here, Glick shares what some numbers might be able to tell us about our health and fitness.

Double the support time

This is the walking stage when both of your feet are on the ground. A faster gait usually results in a lower number here as you’re more likely to have a faster foot-to-foot turn, and the average drops between 20 and 40 percent, according to Apple.

“We can learn a lot about a patient who spends a lot of time on their legs,” Gleick says. “This could be a sign that someone might feel unsettled.” In this case, Gleick says, they will work together on balance exercises and fall prevention.

walking asymmetry

Glick points out that humans are not symmetrical beings. “Our face is not quite symmetrical, and our gait is not quite symmetrical,” she says. The average walking asymmetry of younger healthy adults is reduced between 5 and 15 percent, while older adults are usually closer to 15 to 20 percent, according to a study in the journal. Medicine and science in sports and exercise.

“If someone is very consistent with asymmetry, we can be calm about it,” Gleick says. But her team is still looking for nails to see if a patient suddenly prefers one leg. This may mean that one side is weaker than the other, or that it limps because of the pain. Or it may simply mean that they began carrying a bag on one shoulder, or walking on an uneven road. Like all of these walking analysis stats, it needs to be taken into account in context.

step length

Just as it sounds, this measures the distance you cover with each step. It’s a super odd number, and varies a lot from person to person, although it depends on your height (obviously) and gender, and generally decreases with age as mobility or range of motion decreases and balance becomes more of a challenge. It is also not related to walking speed as you might assume: “Some people take shorter strides, but very quickly, others take big, longer strides and walk relatively slowly,” says Glick. Rather than looking for a certain number, the main goal here should really be to feel comfortable, stable and able to keep your step for a long time. from time.

Ladder speed: up and down

Glick notes that stairs can be a major problem for some patients. “Some people are afraid of it, and they avoid it,” she says. But even if you don’t have stairs in your home, mastering movement is essential to the daily lives of most of us, whether it’s getting up or out of a sidewalk, or going up a few steps to enter a building, she points out. When her team sees an exceptionally slow pace that indicates someone might be closing foot after foot at each step, they’ll check in to see if it’s an issue with knee pain, stability, or cardiovascular health.

Average heart rate while walking

If your smartphone is connected to a fitness watch, you’ll also likely be able to see your heart rate while you’re walking. Walking should be a low to moderate intensity activity, which means it will drop between 50 and 70 percent of your maximum heart rate. But rather than looking at a specific number, Glick says the key is to pay attention to how you feel when you walk—you don’t want your heart beating so fast that you have to stop and rest for a minute after walking to the mailbox.

bigger picture

So why are all these stats important? Glick points out that, in general, for those who can walk, doing so often and being aware of the quality of walking is one of the best things we can do for our health. “This is how we move — not with squats, not with swimming,” she says. “We go our way around the world, so we want to make sure this basic skill is done to the best quality possible.”

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