moving backward to move forward

when backward will get your forward

I’m going to turn everything around for you, literally. Want to do something that increases coordination, balance, help address muscle imbalances, allows you to exercise when injured, help address bad posture? Holy crap of course you do! All these benefits can be realized by something most of us who exercise already do.

I’m going to take something that is common and spin it around 180 degrees.

What

Running backwards. I don’t think I have ever seen anyone doing this, never. Probably because it looks ridiculous. The idea to look more into this came to me today while running a fitness class. Usually for the warm up of this class I will have everyone run backwards for a total of about 2 – 4 minutes. I already new that there is some benefits to running backwards, but I wanted to find out more about it and what other benefits there are. Maybe after reading this post running backwards will become part of your workout routine.

Why

The benefits are great. Here are some of the benefits to running backwards:

  • Muscle imbalances – if you are someone who does a lot of running, and don’t spend time doing resistance training on your legs your probably have muscle imbalances due to working the same muscles all the time. Running backwards works the muscles that aren’t being worked while running forwards. It’s that simple.
  • Posture – while running forwards, our body takes on a posture that is typically forward leaning. Over time this posture becomes part of our posture when not running. Not as severe, but it does influence our normal posture. Running backwards we are no longer leaning forwards. Think of it as balancing the scale.
  • Higher burn – running backwards tends to use more calories. Research has shown that the increase in burning calories can be up to 20%. If this is something you are looking for than running backwards is something you should do.
  • Injuries – if you feel pain in your knees or ankles when running forwards, try running backwards and there is a good chance there will not be any pain. Most times these pains we feel are repetitive use injuries. Running backwards addresses that repetitive use in that we are no longer executing the same motion. If you can run backwards pain free than you will be able to keep up your fitness level. Incorporating this into your regular routine, alternating running backwards with running forwards once healed may prevent your injury from happening again.
  • Heightened senses – it may be obvious that running backwards requires you to be more alert since you need to be aware of what’s behind you as to not trip up. Typically your senses of hearing and your peripheral vision will become heightened.

Caution

Be careful running backwards. I would recommend you do this on a track since the surface should be in good condition and you can use the lines on the track to help you stay on a constant path. Do this with someone else who is running forwards and use them as your lookout.

I recommend you ease into this. Don’t go out and run 3 miles the first time. Try about 10 minutes and see how you feel the next day. Try not to lean too far backwards when running or you could end up taking a tumble. You could also try walking backwards first and then slowing go into a run.

Why not

Convinced? Will you try it? I think you should, there are so many benefits. But make sure you are comfortable doing this otherwise your anxiety may end up causing an injury.

It may look silly, but who cares?

Yours in health,

Darryl

Author: darryl bennett

A certified Canfitpro personal trainer specialist, and a Yondan (4th Degree) black belt in Shorin Ryu Shorin Kan karate, training at Ferraro Karate under Sensei Stephen Ferraro. Also holding a certificate in Plant Based Nutrition from ECornell University. Fitness and health have been a big part of my life, and always will be.

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