Each day we put one foot in front of the other. Step by step we cover different distances on foot, without spending a minute to think about the process. Since we are so used to walking forwards, it is tough to suddenly start trying to walk backwards…
Why should we walk backwards?
It may sound strange or silly at first, but if you take a closer look at the technique, you will see that it has tons of benefits for your physical and mental health:
- sharpens the senses and mental clarity
- improves coordination
- boosts body consciousness
- adds variety to your training
- strengthens less used leg muscles
- decreases lower back pain
- puts less strain on the knees
- speeds up the body’s metabolism
- increases energy level
- improves sleep
- strengthens the heart
In order to reap all the benefits, you should walk backwards three to four times per week for 10 to 15 minutes.
Since we practice “normal walking” every day without thinking about it, the body and the brain are forced to adapt to new, unfamiliar demands when you start walking in reverse.
In China walking backwards is already becoming a part of everyday life:
Running backwards for advanced
After you have practiced walking backwards extensively and feel comfortable with it, you can even move on to running backwards. The School of Healthcare Sciences in Cardiff researched the benefits this has for the body. The study discovered that pain in the front of the knee can be reduced by running backwards.(1) Another study, conducted by the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa, showed that a combination of running forwards and backwards can improve cardiorespiratory fitness.(2)
How it works:
Before you run backwards, you should make sure to practice walking backwards a lot. The best way to do this is on a treadmill, because you have railings to hold onto. Start slowly and work up to a fast walk.
When you have reached a higher speed on the treadmill, you can carefully try jogging backwards. This is especially good if you struggle with knee pain, because this technique – as mentioned above – reduces the strain on your knees.
Concentrate on every step – your brain has to get used to the new way of moving. Safety is the top priority.