“I think it’s wonderful to add a little back movement to your day,” says Grayson Wickham, a physical therapist at Lux Physical Therapy and Functional Medicine in New York City. “People today sit too often, and moreover, they lack varied movement,” he adds. For example, according to studies of March 2021, participants who walked backwards on a treadmill for 30 minutes for four weeks improved their balance, walking speed, and overall fitness, informs the server CNN Health. Other studies suggest that moving backwards can help people with osteoarthritis of the knees and chronic back pain.
Why is walking backwards so beneficial? “When you’re moving forward, it’s a hamstring-dominated movement,” says Landry Estes, a certified strength and conditioning specialist in College Station, Texas. “If you go backwards, the muscle engagement is reversed, which stimulates your body. The more varied movement you have during your daily activities, the better,” he describes muscle activity.
At the same time, moving backwards is nothing new. People in China have been walking backwards for centuries for their physical and mental health. Backward movement is also common in sports – think of footballers and referees. Walking backwards is also trending on social networks, for example on TikTokinforms the server Nutrisense.
There are even running and walking backwards races. Some experimenters move backwards even in famous races like the Boston Marathon. For example, in 2018, Loren Zitomersky attempted to raise money for epilepsy research and attempted to break the world record. He succeeded in the first, but not in the second.
“It’s pretty easy to get started. The key to success, as with any new exercise, is to take it slow. You can start by walking backwards for five minutes a few times a week,” advises Wickham. Another option Wickham recommends is “walking backwards” outside. “The treadmill is not that natural. In addition, you can fall. If you fall outside, it’s less dangerous,” he says. Another option is to date a friend who moves forward and can act as your eyes. After a few minutes, switch roles so that your friend can also enjoy the benefits of walking behind.