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Health benefits of walking backwards

One of the best-studied benefits of walking backwards is improved stability and balance. For most of us, walking is something we do automatically. It does not require conscious effort, which is why many of us do not remember the benefits it has for our health.

But What happens if we stop walking on autopilot and start challenging our brains and bodies by walking backwards?

It is not just a change of direction that demands more attention, it can also provide additional health benefits.

Physical activity doesn't have to be complicated.

Whether you're normally active or not, a daily walk can provide a host of health benefits and can count toward the World Health Organization's recommendation of a minimum of 150 minutes of aerobic activity per week.

Still, walking is more complicated than many of us think.

Stand tall requires coordination between our visual and vestibular systems (sensations linked to movements such as turning, turning or moving quickly) and proprioceptive (the awareness of where our bodies are in space).

When we walk backwards, Our brains take longer to process the additional demands of coordinating these systems . However, this higher level of challenge comes with greater health benefits.

One of the best-studied benefits of walking backwards is the improved stability and balance . Practicing it can help us improve our normal gait (that is, forward) and, in terms of improving balance, it helps both healthy adults and those with knee osteoarthritis.

When walking backwards we take shorter and more frequent steps, which improves the endurance of the lower leg muscles and reduces the load on the joints .

This technique has even been used to identify and treat balance and walking speed in patients with neurological conditions or after chronic stroke.

Adding changes and walking an uphill or downhill slope can also alter the range of motion of your joints and muscles, offering Pain relief for conditions such as plantar fasciitis , one of the most common causes of heel pain.

The postural changes created by walking backwards cause the muscles that support the lumbar spine are used more . This suggests that walking backwards may be a particularly beneficial exercise for people with chronic low back pain.

A change in the energy we spend

The benefits of changing direction are not just therapeutic: interest in backward movement has led researchers to discover other benefits.

While normal walking can help us maintain a healthy weight , doing it backwards can be even more effective.

The energy expenditure with this change is almost 40% greater than when walking at the same speed forward: 6.0 Mets versus 4.3 Mets (a metabolic equivalent, Met, is the amount of oxygen consumed while sitting Resting).

One study showed reductions in body fat for women who completed a six-week backward running or walking training program.

When we are confident in moving backwards, moving forward and running so we can increase the demands even more .

Although often studied as a rehabilitation tool, running backwards increases the strength of the muscles that are crucial for straightening the knee, which not only carries over to the injury prevention, but also to our ability to generate power and athletic performance .

Running backwards steadily It decreases the energy we expend when we run forward . These improvements are even beneficial for experienced runners who already have a technique to make a run more economical in terms of energy.

If walking backwards becomes too easy and you have space limitations to practice running, another way to increase the difficulty is to start dragging weights.

Increasing the overall load increases the use of the knee extensor muscles while It places great demands on the heart and lungs in a short space of time .

How to start

When walking backwards, we are more likely to miss obstacles and hazards that we could collide with or fall over, so in the interest of safety, it is best Start indoors , where you know you won't collide with something or someone, or do it in an open, flat space.

Resist the temptation to contort your body and look over your shoulder. Keep your head and chest up as you stretch your big toe back for each step, rolling your foot from toe to heel.

Once you are more confident, you can speed things up and even transition to a treadmill , making sure to use the guide rails when necessary.

If you use weights, start light. Focus in multiple sets instead of long distances and remember to maintain the integrity of your technique at a distance of no more than 20 meters to start.


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