To stay in shape, have you ever tried “retro walking”?

To stay in shape, have you ever tried “retro walking”?

What if instead of traditional walking, you started walking backwards? Trending on social networks, retro walking offers numerous health benefits with improved balance, reduced pain in cases of lower back pain or osteoarthritis, etc. Explanations.

Nothing to do with the Monty Python sketch on “The Ministry of Silly Walks”! Even if it may seem like a joke, the subject is very serious: walking backwards can represent a real alternative to traditional walking. With many benefits.

Walk backwards, really?

In the article published by The ConversationJack Mc Namara, lecturer in clinical exercise physiology and member of the University of East London, details the benefits of this type of walking, which is not a new fashion, but rather a variation of running , which we call retro-running.

According to this expert, “Walking backwards causes us to take shorter and more frequent steps, which improves the muscular endurance of the leg muscles while reducing the load on our joints.”

In addition, reversing the stride causes different demands on the muscles of the abdomen, lower limbs, glutes and back.

Walking backwards, The 5 little-known benefits

Instinctively, we know that walking backwards is not natural. However, it has many benefits, notably on stability and balance, the prevention of lower back pain and knee osteoarthritis, and creates greater energy expenditure than walking forward.

Plus d’endurance

Additionally, walking backwards causes us to take shorter, more frequent steps, which improves muscular endurance in the lower leg muscles while reducing the load on our joints.” added Jack McNamara.

In a Time article published at the beginning of May, Angela Haupt cites several studies which confirm the benefits of this unusual practice.

Strengthening the quadriceps

According to one study, people who walked backwards three times a week for six weeks had better quadriceps muscle strength, compared to those who walked forward for exercise. The quadriceps are responsible for extending the knee and straightening the leg.

Useful in cases of osteoarthritis

The action would also be interesting in the context of the treatment of osteoarthritis. One study found that after a six-week retro-walking program, participants with knee osteoarthritis experienced greater reductions in pain and functional disability compared to those who walked habitually.

Less pain in cases of lower back pain and plantar fasciitis

Another found that retro walking on a steep slope alleviates the symptoms of plantar fasciitis. And another reported reduced lower back pain and improved function in athletes.

Improved balance

Among seniors, walking backwards could even improve balance, and thus reduce the risk of falls.

How to walk backwards?

To be able to practice walking backwards, it is essential to first choose flat ground, to avoid falls! You also need to be confident enough when walking so as not to be tempted to look over your shoulder. Be careful to carry out the stepping movement by rolling your foot from front to back with each inverted stride. While extending your big toe backwards with each step.

To apply this technique at each step and gain confidence, it is better to cover small distances, a few tens of meters, each time. It is possible to carry out this activity indoors, on a treadmill, by varying the speeds and inclines of the device.

An easy-to-implement activity to comply with the recommendations of the World Health Organization on this subject. To know “practice at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity or at least 75 to 150 minutes of sustained-intensity aerobic physical activity or an equivalent combination of moderate-intensity and sustained physical activity per week for reap substantial health benefits“.