What is retro walking? 5 unexpected health benefits
Bored with your usual morning walk? Try retro-walking. Retro-walking is simply walking by putting one foot behind the other, or in simpler words, walking backward. From a third person's view, you may appear eccentric while doing so, but there are far too many benefits than worrying about what others would think. Check out the many ways retro-walking can benefit you.
Here's what our expert says
- Walking backward helps improve proprioception i.e. joint and muscle awareness along with spinal reflexes.
- It is a complex mechanism by which the brain stays aware of the position of different body parts without actually looking at them individually and it plays a very important role in maintaining balance.
- Caution is advised in hip/knee transplantees and those with balance-related disorders.
Reverse walking requires you to go against your usual motion, which means you will require better coordination of your body. Your mind stays focused on guiding you better since you lack any visual inputs and only rely on your body awareness. This improves your mind-body coordination and helps you have a better sense of your limb and body positioning.
Puts less strain on your knees
For patients who have osteoarthritis in their knees, backward locomotion can be beneficial for reducing pain and improving leg strength. Studies have also found that reverse walking or backward running reduces anterior knee pain. When you walk backward, your quadriceps' activity is reduced and as a result, the knee joint takes less compressive force. Therefore, the intensity of pain in the knee is reduced.
Burns more calories
Yes, walking backward can burn 40% more calories per minute than walking forward. If you want to lose weight, then definitely consider it. The Compendium of Physical Activities notes that a brisk normal walk at 3.5 mph is about 4.3 METs (metabolic equivalents) while walking backward at the same speed is 6.0 METs. The higher the METs, the higher your caloric expenditure.
Improve cardiorespiratory fitness
Moving in reverse gets your heart pumping faster than moving forwards. So, that means you get a cardio fix, a metabolism boost, and burn more calories in a shorter period. A combination of backward walking or running can improve cardiorespiratory fitness and change body composition. This study validates that backward walking causes significant changes in body composition in young women.
Strengthens your legs
This is one of the most effective natural ways to strengthen your less-active leg muscles. When you walk backward, it flexes out your hamstrings as opposed to your quadriceps and strengthens muscles that usually take a backseat while walking forwards. Your shin muscle also comes to function as opposed to calf muscles, which tend to do all the work when you walk forward.