Take a Step Back For the Good of Your Health!

Running Backwards

Image source www.tynebridgeharriers.com

Moving forward, looking to the future, not looking back and so on and so on…it seems that we are always focusing on moving frontward but a recent trend shows that taking a few steps back might be the direction to go.

I came upon an article in the Chatelaine October issue called Back up! And it intrigued me; I’m always looking for ways to spice up the calorie burning process and I’m not a gym person or an exercise video kind of girl. I much more prefer to throw on a pair of running shoes (or soccer cleats) and run my butt off, or try to at least.


No, I’m not suggesting that you start listening to 80`s tunes while exercising; retro movement is the reverse action of any normal movement. In this case the normal movement is running forwards and the retro movement is running backwards.

Athletes like football players, soccer players and other sportspeople have been running backward, sideways and crisscrossed for decades but average calories burners usually focus on moving forward.


You might be wondering why you should try this. I mean if you’re going to sacrifice your reputation by looking “silly” running backwards (when everyone else is moving forward) you’re going to want to make it worth it right?

The benefits of running (or walking) in reverse are aplenty. Any runner can tell you that the long-time popular cardio exercise is hard on the body, mainly the knees. Running backwards helps this problem because it changes the impact spots on the body. In backward motion, you land on a different part of your foot than when in the forward motion and this places pressure on different parts of your body.

Other benefits of retro running include:

  • Strengthens core muscles
  • Improves posture
  • Burns roughly 30% more calories than running forward. It is estimated that taking 100 steps backward is equal to taking 1,000 steps forward!
  • Allows injured runners to continue to run without worrying of further injury
  • Strengthens new muscles since we are using different groups than in the forward motion


Of course, after learning of this new idea, I had to try it myself. When the weather is nice, I pick up Little S from school and we hit the park across the street from her school. With time management in mind, I try to fit in a few minutes of cardio-burning activity while she plays, and at our park, there are perfectly sized hills that allow for the biggest bang for my buck cardio-wise.

On this day, I walked up the hill backwards and ran down forwards and repeated this about ten times. It is suggested that when starting this new exercise that you begin with a walk instead of a run and that you do this on level ground until you get the feel for it.

I noticed the difference on the very first try. Walking up the hill in reverse really activated “new” muscles and when I got to the top of the hill, I found I was more out of breath than when running up frontwards. Overall it was obvious that I participated in a more vigorous workout and in the same amount of time that I usually spend.

So, the next time you lace up your running shoes, consider taking a few steps backwards. You can gradually workup to a 40/60 percentage in your workouts (40 backward and 60 forwards). This will really rev up your workout routine and if you’re doing it anyway, why not get more out of it!

What is your favourite workout routine? How do you beat fitness boredom and incorporate new techniques?

City Mom