With a decades-long focus on quantity, few walkers question whether they’re walking to their full potential. Baliston understands it’s time to focus on quality, not just quantity, and we
have developed technology to understand every element of your optimal walking wellness– not just how many steps you take, but how you take them– to help you move more and move better.
Baliston developed the Walking Quality Score as a metric for users to assess their personal walking DNA. By accounting for an array of fundamental gait components, the Walking Quality Score helps Baliston members track the improvement of their walking technique to improve health, enhance comfort, and prevent future pain.
Data points like propulsion, and heel impact force, symmetry, and stride length are used to calculate the Walking Quality Score. While each of these metrics is important in its own right, they’re even more useful when understood together. Each gait component helps qualify data in the context of the whole.
When you take a step, how far do you move? Stride length is the distance between two successive heel impacts of the same foot. More active walkers often take longer steps, meaning that they cover greater distances with more speed and power. The average walking stride length for healthy young adults is about 2.5 feet.
Walking dynamics, coordination, and style vary significantly from person to person. There is also individual variation between a walker’s right and left sides of their own body. For example, due to heredity, habit, poor posture, weakness, different limb lengths, or unaddressed injury elsewhere, a walker may spend more time in their gate on one side of their body versus the other. While asymmetrical gaits are quite common, symmetry less than 85% can cause pain or increased risk of injury over time.
Baliston calculates your walking symmetry by comparing the left and right phases of your gait, expressed as a percentage, with a perfect value being 100%. Understanding symmetry is essential for users that are trying to improve their walking habits and health. Improve your symmetry by first focusing on your posture. You can do this by keeping your head up, spine long, shoulders back, down, and relaxed with your core engaged, allowing your arms to swing from the shoulders. While you walk, focus your gaze 60 feet in front of you. After tackling posture, address any underlying strength imbalances by doing exercises that strengthen the leg that is weakest. Finally, if you are carrying a load, try to distribute the weight evenly between the left and right sides of your body. This may mean alternating sides if you can only carry something on one side at a time.
Propulsion describes the speed and angle at which the heel leaves the ground after taking a step. When your foot leaves the ground while stepping forward, your ankle rotates, propelling the body ahead. Baliston sensor modules are designed to know the exact moment of propulsion as your toe leaves the ground, as well as your foot’s rotation speed.
A balanced, well-propelled stride uses both calf muscles and hip flexors. If you over-rely on your hip flexors to propel yourself, you will have lower propulsion. So, working on calf muscle exercises like toe and calf raises can improve your propulsion. If you over-rely on your calf muscles, your propulsion will be too high. So, working on exercises that strengthen the hip flexors is perfect for improving your propulsion.
Heel Impact Force
Heel impact force is the force at which your heel impacts the ground as each foot lands– it is essentially how hard you step down. Too heavy of an impact can cause lower leg pain and put excess strain on your knees. To minimize discomfort and reduce the force of heel impact, practice walking lightly and do exercises like lunges, squats, and knee extensions to strengthen your quadriceps muscles.
Why Walking Quality Score Matters
Baliston developed the Walking Quality Score because we know that steps alone cannot paint the full picture of your walking health. Detail matters. Although every component of your walk is essential, Baliston’s Walking Quality Score offers a comprehensive metric that helps you understand your walking holistically. Step into better health with Baliston’s Walking Quality Score, a new way to assess your walking wellness holistically.