Backwards Walking – A workout for your body and brain.
Backwards walking could be for you if -you want to burn more calories, improve balance, co-ordination and reduce back pain and shake up a dull work out routine? Then take a step (or several) backwards to start moving forwards. If you don’t mind a few funny looks out on the dog walk or in the gym, then give backwards walking a try and add it into your workout routine
Repetitive workout routines mean you’re only training your body in one way and it doesn’t stimulate the brain either. You are on autopilot. That’s where backwards walking comes in.
It wakes up the body and brain.
Adding 10-20 mins of backwards walking a couple of times a week has several benefits and is easy to do.
What are the benefits of backwards walking for your mind and body?
For your body backwards walking is good for:
• If you have acute back pain often walking can cause discomfort so it’s hard to keep mobile. Try walking backwards. It uses different muscle groups and so often doesn’t hurt!
• Stimulates the brain to focus and operate
• Engages the muscles of your buttocks (gluts) and the back of your legs and spine. These are important for good core tone, posture and balance
• Can be great for rehabilitating knee problems – as it uses different muscles groups
• New and challenging activities burn calories faster than exercises your familiar with
For your brain backwards walking is good for:
• Your brain has a work out too. A new set of muscles needs to activate and a new movement pattern it needs to be mastered. Your brain likes these new challenges. It helps wake up your neuromuscular system (the connection between your brain, nerves and muscles)
• Increased sense of body awareness, coordination’s and movement in space. It’s a challenge for your coordination and proprioception (the nerve sensors that tell your brain where your body is in relation to the space around it)
• Helps to relive work our boredom
Ways to try backwards walking:
Trying to run backward outside is certainly doable, but it might be safer to use a treadmill. It may sound like a hazardous way to run with all of the variables, like speed and the spinning belt. But the treadmill offers handrails and a stable place for you to improve your ability to run backward.
Get well acquainted with the treadmill and all its controls, including the emergency stop button!
Start with a very slow speed (1mph) and work up to a brisk walk (3mph). You can always adjust your backwards walking speed down again if you feel its too fast.
Now you’re all set to challenge your body and brain in a new way with backwards walking – so give it a go. If you feel a bit silly initially then get a friend involved & have a laugh with it.
Once you feel more comfortable you can include backwards walking as a regular part of your fitness and wellbeing routine. Your brain and body will benefit from engaging different muscles in a new way.