Three reasons to walk or run backwards.

Posted by & filed under Exercise and Training.

Walking or running backwards does have three benefits.  The video shows a way of getting rid of the inhibitions about doing this in public.  Shame it does nothing for the health of the liver and makes crossing the road a rather riskier than usual.  It is possible to walk backwards on a treadmill, but if the treadmill is in a public gym, we would be told to stop doing that since it would be seen as dangerous.  If we own a treadmill, then trying to walk backwards on it is fine, but it will be a very good idea to hold onto the handrails to start with and keep the speed low at first.  And make sure the shoe laces are tied up. The foot strike will be toe/heel.  Just let that happen.

The benefits to walking or running backwards are:

  1. It helps to unwind the spine.  We always go forwards, and so our tissues develop around this action.  It is very common to feel tighter on one side than on the other, so walking backwards for a few minutes helps unwind that.
  2. It tightens up the butt.  In order to walk backwards, we have to move the legs backwards, and this engages butt and hamstrings far more than when going forwards.  Going forwards, we we have to lift or swing the leg forwards, and this works the thigh muscles.  In time, these get over dominant, making it hard to engage their opposites, the muscles at the back of the leg, the hamstrings and bottom, or gluteus mega maximus.   And so walking backwards will not only help get that bottom into shape, it will also help the over tight thigh lifting muscles relax.  As they relax, the buttocks can tighten  even more.  And so we get an even firmer derriére.  Result.
  3. It helps congestive heart failure, again by the unwinding effect on the spine of going backwards.  I got this tip from Dr Tom O Bryan, an American chiropractor who specialises in gluten sensitivity.

So for runners, spending a few minutes jogging backwards at the end of a run will help undo the effects of the run, and over time, may well improve overall performance.  Those who feel their butt is a rather sorry affair will benefit from a time spent marching backwards.  And those with congestive heart failure would be wise to give it a whirl whilst they are still able to walk at all.

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