Is Backward Walking Good For Health?
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You must have heard how beneficial walking is for health, but what if instead of walking straight, we walk in reverse steps i.e. backward walk?
The backward walk is also known as the Retro walk. Retro-walk for 10-15 minutes, four days a week, can stretch out your hamstrings and strengthen muscles that usually take a backseat when we walk forwards.
5 Amazing Health Benefits
You will be surprised to know how backward walking leads to some amazing health benefits.
Some of them are listed below:
1. Walking backward burns 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.
If trying to lose weight through exercise, walking backward is a more efficient route than walking forwards, about 40 percent more calories are burned in a minute.
If you are overweight, then it is more beneficial to walk in reverse than to walk straight.
Remember, a reverse walk burns 40 percent more calories than walking with inverted steps.
2. Walking backward is excellent for balance
According to a study, backward walking improves balance, step length, and walking speed.
If someone does a reverse walk, he cannot look back, this alerts the body.
It anticipates things coming behind. It helps increase the body’s balance.
If you struggle with the mind-body connection, and improper balance adding backward walking to your routine can potentially help you have a better sense of your limb and body positioning.
Your body is used to walking forward, without thought.
But when you switch direction, you slightly throw off your body’s center of gravity, calling for more stability to maintain your balance.
Always make sure you’re walking in an area without obstacles to avoid falls or collisions.
3. Walking backward improves the senses
Since it goes against your logic, stepping in reverse challenges your thinking skills.
You have to pay attention, which flexes your mental muscles, boosts body consciousness, and improves your vision.
4. Walking backward is good for the brain
Much like learning a brand new sport, the backward walk brings the brain out of its comfort zone and challenges your coordination and movement patterns in ways that we rarely experience as adults.
This keeps your brain sharp and builds new neural connections.
Some experts say that the backward walk also fosters more creativity, and most people find it fun!
5. Walking backward is easier on the joints and back
If you have any sort of back or knee injury, you’ll soon see why the backward walk is good for you when you begin reverse stepping.
It takes away the usual knee-heel strikes, less range of motion in your joints than walking forwards, and changes your pelvic alignment to open joints in your spine – potentially easing off back pain.
6. Walking backward utilizes muscles differently
One study found significant differences in muscle activation between forward and backward walking and running as demonstrated by electromyography (EMG) and joint kinetics.
In practical terms, this means that running or walking backward, rather than forward, might be more helpful when trying to build quad strength or return from a knee injury or knee pain brought about by quad muscle weakness.
For example, one of the primary causes of a runner’s knee is weakness in the vastus medialis oblique (VMO), so adding some backward walking or running into your rehab program may be an effective way to increase strength and stability in this muscle.
7. Walking backward can improve cardiorespiratory fitness
Runners want to do whatever they can to improve their VO2 max, a measure of aerobic capacity.
In addition to hitting your race pace intervals and speed workouts, there is also evidence to suggest that a training program consisting of a backward walk can improve cardiovascular fitness and body composition.
After completing the backward training intervention program, subjects had a significant decrease in oxygen consumption during both forward and backward exercise on the treadmill at submaximal intensities, and their predictive VO2 max values for the 20-m shuttle test improved significantly. Finally, their body fat percentage decreased by 2.4%.
8. Walking backward may reduce knee pain
Walking backward may be a good idea if you have osteoarthritis in your knees. It strengthens muscles and reduces knee pain.
A study was conducted for six weeks on a group suffering from Osteoarthritis from walking and walking backward.
The results also showed that there was a reduction in knee pain in the reverse walk group.
So, backward locomotion can be beneficial for reducing pain and improving function and leg strength in individuals with knee osteoarthritis.
Safety while backward walk
Walking backward is as simple as it sounds, but simply doesn’t necessarily mean easy.
Reach back with your toe, and then roll through your foot towards your heel. Use your arms to reach back with each stride. Keep your torso upright and chest up.
For safety, it’s best to start indoors in a hallway or somewhere where you won’t crash into things, or in an open grassy area away from cars and obstacles.
You can also practice walking backward on a track or treadmill.
When using the treadmill, start at a very slow speed and use the handrails if necessary.
Over time, work up to a speed of 3.5 mph or so.
Keep this in mind before indulging in a reverse walk
- If you are using a treadmill then do it at a slower speed otherwise you can slip.
- If you are doing it indoors then please ensure that you have enough space to walk. There are no rugs or furniture around.
- Wear proper shoes to keep your ankles safe.
- If you are doing it outdoors then please keep a tab on the people, animals, as well as potholes around you to keep yourself safe.
- Also, you can mix both forward and backward walking for better results.
Rarely, however, do we think about the backward walk or the benefits of the backward walk.
As strange as it looks and feels initially, walking backward can be a fantastic ace up your proverbial running jacket sleeve. The benefits of walking backward for your body might just translate to better running.
The benefits of a reverse walk benefit the muscles more.
In reverse walking, there is a special type of activity in the muscles, which is different from the activity during a walk.
Because of this, the reverse walk helps increase strength, recover from a knee injury, or cure knee pain due to muscle weakness.
Brings balance and strength.
You have studied and acknowledged the significance of mixing up your workout routine.
Those who do regular workouts complain of burnout and boredom by doing the same type of exercise.
So for fitness include backward walking in your daily routine also it avoids boredom.