Ever tried walking backwards? To many of us, it may seem silly or useless. On the contrary, it provides loads of perks for your physical and mental well-being. And, for all you walkers and joggers, with reverse walking, you can easily beat the humdrum of your everyday routine. A simple 10-20 minutes of backward walking or jogging a few times a week can provide you with the workout variety your mind and body crave.
Reverse walking, also called retro-walking, hails from China and is popular there for its health and mental advantages. Many physical therapy clinics use reverse walking techniques to help people improve their gait and mobility in the lower extremities, improve knee, hip, and ankle range of motion (ROM), and build strength.
How it works
With walking backward the force you are placing on your body is greater. You are challenging your body to adapt to new and unfamiliar demands, thus improving and enhancing your physical fitness. Walking backward actually engages a different set of muscles – calf muscles, glutes, and quadriceps. It also challenges your mind to think and operate differently and helps improve your leg endurance and aerobic capacity more rapidly.
A slew of benefits that you don’t want to miss
Walking in reverse could make one’s heart pump faster and circulate more blood and oxygen to the muscles and organs, including the brain. It enhances the sense of body awareness, increases body coordination and movement in space, increases strength in lesser-used leg muscles, and is beneficial for your brain and heart. It boosts your metabolism, enabling you to burn more calories than your usual forward walking.
By walking backwards, do you burn more calories?
The most popular search on retro-walking is, “Is walking 100 steps backward equivalent to 1,000 steps forward walking”? Most of the studies do indicate that walking backward helps you burn more calories! Moving in reverse gets your heart pumping faster than moving forwards, meaning you get a cardio fix, metabolism boost, and torch more calories in a shorter period, burning nearly 40% more calories per minute.
Where’s the proof, you ask?
Journal of Biomechanics conducted research and found that backward running reduced anterior knee pain compared to forward running. Another study published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine found that a combination of backward running and walking may improve cardiorespiratory fitness and change body composition.
By the way, when you reverse walk the next time, just for your thoughts. Kangaroos, Emus, and Penguins cannot walk backward!