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The ability to walk is a luxury that many people take for granted.  However, being able to walk well is integral in allowing Halifax seniors to continue doing the activities they love.  This includes enjoying the outdoors and spending time with friends and family.  Walking well is also a key factor in determining if seniors in Halifax can safely stay in their own homes to “age in place”.  

Despite its importance, the quality of seniors’ walking, or gait, is not regularly monitored.  Left without regular analysis, gait quality can silently deteriorate.  This leaves seniors in Halifax at increased risk of injury and decreased independence.  That’s the bad news.  The good news is that many of the factors that affect gait quality are changeable; the key is ensuring they are identified.

Gait Analysis

The first step Halifax seniors should take to optimize their walking quality is to have a professional gait analysis.  When evaluating walking quality, physiotherapists assess many factors including: stepping pattern, step size, gait speed, steadiness and agility (ie: ability to change direction/turn while walking).   

Further analysis includes an assessment of leg strength and balance.  Many of the problematic factors identified in a professional gait analysis are caused by problems in these two areas.

Physiotherapists can use standardized tests to asses gait speed, agility, leg strength and balance.  This comprehensive physical analysis can help Halifax seniors determine how they “measure up” compared to their peers using age/sex-matched normative data.  

These tests can also be helpful in determining if and when Halifax seniors should consider the use of walking aides like walking poles, canes or walkers to optimize their walking quality and minimize their risk of falls.

Using the information from the gait analysis and physical assessment, Halifax seniors can receive an individualized program that can be tailored to address their specific needs.  Given the number of factors at play, it is easy to see how simply walking more doesn’t necessarily improve gait quality.

Client Story

At Zoomers, we helped an 86 year old client through this process following an analysis of his gait.  In 6 weeks, he substantially improved his walking quality which resulted in nearly doubling his walking speed!  He achieved this goal by engaging in a targeted strength, balance and gait re-education program.  He learned the program in the clinic and then practiced it at home on a regular basis.  

Although everyone’s results with a program will be different, he is a great example that shows the power Halifax seniors have to change the quality of their walking… if they get a comprehensive gait analysis and are willing to put the time and effort in to make change!

The physiotherapists at Zoomers regularly perform gait analysis for their clients.  This aspect of their physiotherapy care allows Halifax seniors to optimize the quality of their walking to live their lives as fully, comfortably and independently as possible.

Book an assessment with Zoomers

Use our online booking tool to find a time that works for you!