Backward walk or retro-walking is the movement in backward direction or the simple reversal of forward walking. The basic neural control structures can simply reverse the automatism of forward walking to drive backward walking. In backward walking heel strike is replaced by toe contact whereas hip flexion by hip extension. It is a closed kinematic exercise so that comprehensive forces on the knee joint are reduced.
The activity of lower extremities during gait cycle was monitored using Electromyography (EMG) which proposes that the energy expenditure is higher in backward walking as compared to forward walking. This leads to provocation of the cardiovascular fitness. Change in the muscle synergies or neuromotor control in lower limbs during retro-walking which can be the probable cause of improvement in balance.
Just a simple reversal in the walking can lead to many benefits thereby acting as an adjunct to the rehabilitation and increasing the levels of fitness .
The various benefits of walking backward reported by research studies are:
1. Positive changes in the speed of walking and the number of steps per minute.
2. Helps rehabilitate knee injuries
3. Improves balance.
4. Improves cardiorespiratory functions
5. Enhances body awareness.
6. Improves attention and coordination.
So let’s start walking backward to help our body and mind to attain maximum benefits. Just make sure that you practice this in a safe place such as indoors in front of a mirror or on a proper outdoor running track where you can have a friend to guide you.