WOMANITY #4 - Walking Backwards (Retrowalking)
This session is for women only.
The Chinese and Japanese have long practiced backward locomotion (also known as walking backwards or retro-walking), well aware that 100 steps backward walking is equivalent to 1,000 steps in conventional walking.
Dutch researchers have found convincing evidence that lends credence to their belief that “backward locomotion appears to be a very powerful trigger to mobilise cognitive resource”. [Source: WebMD Health News, May 8, 2009.]
According to an article in the Penn State Sports Medicine Newsletter (1994), an athlete will see his heart rate soar to 156 bpm (from 106 bpm, walking normally) when he starts walking backward at the same pace.
Being able to walk backwards requires balance since our bodies are used to going in a forward motion. As we turn around, our center of gravity may be slightly thrown off; some of us may experience a little discomfort or instability when we first start walking backwards. With practice, the strangeness or awkwardness quickly wears off, and we may be tempted to walk faster or even jog, once we become accustomed to backward locomotion.
10 Little-known Benefits Of Retro-Walking:
- The muscles of the front (tibialis anterior) and back (gastro/achilles) of the shin and ankle are strengthened, owing to the increased strain of performing an unfamiliar exercise.
- Walking backward increases cardiovascular endurance significantly more than walking forward under the same conditions.
- We expend more energy and burn more calories than those who work out at the same pace consistently for a longer duration. When engaging in a new activity which requires a greater effort, we exert ourselves more. The increased metabolism will result in weight loss for those who press on.
- Studies have shown that using other muscle groups by performing different exercises protects our muscles and tendons from overuse. The knee joint and the patella joint (the joint where the kneecap glides on the knee), in particular, benefit from backward walking.
- Adding a new activity to our regular exercise routine prevents boredom, so we are less likely to stop exercising.
- For those over 50, improving our balance and coordination is even more important. Backward locomotion improves the functions of our cerebellum which coordinates and balances our bodily movements as well as flexibility.
- Because we are on the constant lookout for danger and obstacles on our path, practically all of the five senses (and even the sixth) are sharpened.
- Our reflexes are sharpened at the same time.
- It can help prevent the development of a hunchback.
- It promotes blood circulation and prevents lumbago.