Benefits of Walking Backwards
A study from the University of Western Ontario found that walking backwards can improve balance, increase endurance and reduce injuries, making it an excellent addition to any workout regimen.
The benefits of walking backwards are numerous so numerous, in fact, that this exercise should be used in every doctor’s office around the world! Walking backwards has been shown to have many health benefits, from strengthening your legs and core muscles to improving your balance, coordination and posture.
Not only will walking backwards make you healthier on the inside, but it will also help make you look more youthful on the outside by preventing wrinkles and preventing skin from sagging.
What you get out of any activity depends on what you put into it, and walking backwards isn’t exempt from this rule. Backwards walking can improve your posture, strengthen your back muscles, and make your hip flexors more flexible.
Here are 10 benefits of walking backwards, along with four exercises you can use to incorporate this beneficial activity into your day-to-day routine.
Are there any benefits to walking backwards?
When you walk backwards, your centre of gravity moves away from your limbs, which means there’s less wear and tear on joints. In addition to that, when you don’t see where you’re going (because it’s behind you), your eyes aren’t distracted by what might be in front of you.
As a result, walking backwards can help improve posture and strengthen muscles in your back. It can also help improve balance, especially if you do it over uneven terrain like rocks or grass.
What muscles does walking backwards work?
In order to walk backwards, you have to engage some different muscles from when you’re walking forwards. Yes, there are common muscles that get used in both situations, but certain muscles take on a greater role when you walk backwards.
For example, your glutes, and the booty muscles on your backside come into play much more when you’re walking backwards. Not only do they help propel your body forward, but they’re also important in stabilizing and balancing your body as well.
Why walking backward is good for the knee?
The knee joint is built to be used both ways forward and backwards. What most people don’t realize, though, is that we use our knees in a forward motion almost exclusively. By walking backwards, you challenge your knee joint and its movement in a way it doesn’t get very often. In turn, you can build new muscle and provide extra support to a part of your body that takes a lot of stress in day-to-day life.
Benefits of Walking Backwards
1. Improves balance
One reason why walking backwards can be difficult is because you’re using muscles in your body that don’t usually get worked. When you walk forwards, your eyes (which are located in front of your head) work to help you stay balanced. But when you turn around and face away from where you’re going, all those muscles suddenly have to work harder something which makes it easier to lose your balance.
However, if you practice enough, these new muscle groups will develop stronger and stronger until they become just as strong as their forward-facing counterparts. As a result, it becomes much easier to keep your balance no matter what direction you’re facing.
2. Protects your back from injury
Walking backwards protects your spine from overuse injuries, such as spinal disc herniation. Not only does walking backwards strengthen your core, but it can also increase blood flow to your lower extremities and even ease chronic back pain. Better yet, walking backwards gives you a full-body workout in less time than it takes to walk forwards!
3. Gives you better posture
With so many new, healthy habits to adopt, it can be easy to forget about one of your old standbys. Yet just because you aren’t being conscious doesn’t mean it isn’t still happening.
When we walk backwards, we naturally straighten our backs and stand up straight which means you are more likely to walk around with better posture in every situation! Over time, walking backwards can help improve your posture in other ways too by helping strengthen your core.
And while sitting at a desk all day might not seem like much exercise, slouching forward actually puts pressure on your spine and causes muscle fatigue. By strengthening your core muscles through exercises like walking backwards, you will reduce that pressure on your spine and relieve some muscle fatigue.
4. Grows your calf muscles
While walking forward, your calf muscles are forced to work harder to compensate for your natural gait. By using your calf muscles in a way they’re unaccustomed to, you can significantly strengthen them. While at first, it may seem like an awkward exercise, over time it will feel more natural and you’ll be amazed at how quickly your legs grow!
5. Prevents shin splints and other running injuries
By placing most of your body weight on your heels, walking backwards prevents impact forces from running up your legs. And if you happen to trip and fall, it’s actually easier to fall backwards (because you’re not in a forward-facing position).
When stepping backwards, make sure you’re not in high heels or on a slippery surface. If you are wearing high heels, take them off when walking backwards.
Walking backwards gives you a chance to practice good posture by making sure your head is upright and your shoulders are relaxed.
It can also help improve balance, which will come in handy once you start jogging backwards! You should never walk backwards with poor posture; instead, focus on keeping your spine erect while moving slowly.
6. Strengthens abdominal muscles
The main reason why people perform strength training exercises like crunches, sit-ups and planks is to strengthen their abdominal muscles. What they don’t know, however, is that walking backwards will have a similar effect on their abs as these conventional exercises do. So if you are looking to strengthen your core, walking backwards can help you achieve that.
7. increase endurance
One of the biggest benefits of walking backwards comes from its effect on your endurance. Simply put, walking backwards forces you to use different muscles and move in a different manner than walking forwards. As a result, you will be more fit and have more stamina when you walk forward as well. When it comes to a race or other competitive setting, that difference could make all the difference between winning and losing.
8. Enables you to move faster while being less likely to trip or fall backwards
When walking forwards, you have to worry about falling forward and bumping into things; by walking backwards you can focus on moving faster without having to worry about tripping over objects in your path.
You’ll also be less likely to trip or fall backwards because you’re looking where you want to go rather than where you don’t want to go (i.e., where you just were). Increases muscle tone in your calves and glutes: Since walking backwards requires more effort from these muscles, they will become stronger with regular practice which will not only improve your posture but help prevent injuries.
9. Gives you a whole new perspective on life
It’s easy to get stuck in your routine and forget how amazing it is to be alive. Forcing yourself to walk backwards can give you a unique perspective on life and help you appreciate what’s right in front of you. We spend so much time looking forward, planning our next move or wishing we had done things differently, but by doing something as simple as walking backwards you can look at your life with a new sense of optimism.
10. Fun way to run intervals/ladders at the gym or outside
After walking or running for a set distance (say, 2 miles), walk back to another marker, run in reverse back to your starting point, and then continue on. Repeat until you’ve walked/run a total distance equal to your original workout.
The occasional backward step will improve balance and coordination. And if you have trouble with your vision, it might be easier to focus while facing away from what’s in front of you. Plus, looking at where you came from rather than where you are going can help reduce anxiety about reaching your destination.
11. You can do it pretty much anywhere. No equipment is needed.
You can do it almost anywhere and unlike most exercises, you don’t need any equipment at all. Just some room to walk back and forth and you’re good to go! It’s a great alternative if your gym doesn’t have specific areas designated for walking backwards.
It helps with posture.: If you spend a lot of time sitting down, chances are your posture isn’t so hot. When we sit in front of our computers or watch TV, we often slouch forward or hunch our shoulders up around our ears—both habits that contribute to poor posture over time.
How to Walk Backwards Safely
Walking backwards might not seem like a good idea, but done with proper form it can be great for your health. To walk backwards safely, keep your eyes on where you are going and make sure to step slowly so you don’t trip.
It’s a good idea to avoid walking back if you’re walking alone or in an area that isn’t well-lit because it can be difficult to gauge how far away objects are and how fast they are approaching. When you feel comfortable walking backwards, try incorporating some of these exercises into your routine.
Should You Walk Backwards Every day?
As anyone who has walked in heels can attest, walking backwards is more difficult than forwards. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it a try. Walking backwards helps improve balance and stability, which are critical to staying healthy.
It also works your glutes and hamstrings, two muscle groups that help stabilize your hips and lower back. And since these muscles tend to get weaker as we age, reversing direction every once in a while can be an effective way to stay strong. If you have knee problems or weak ankles, however, talk with your doctor before trying any new exercise routine, especially one as challenging as walking backwards.
As you can see, walking backwards doesn’t just improve your balance; it also puts a little pep in your step. With just a slight change in perspective, you can enjoy all kinds of rewards, including better health and less stress. Try incorporating walking back into your daily workout routine today!