The surprising health benefits of walking backwards – 11/12/2022

The surprising health benefits of walking backwards - 11/12/2022

The benefits of leaving autopilot and challenging the brain range from rehabilitation to improving athletic performance.

Walking is a form of exercise that requires no special equipment or gym membership — and best of all, it’s free.

It’s something we tend to do automatically. Precisely because it does not require conscious effort, many people do not remember the benefits it has for health. However, there is a way to get off the autopilot and challenge our brains: by walking backwards.🇧🇷

In addition to requiring more attention, a change of direction can also be beneficial to the organism.

Daily walking can provide a range of health benefits – even for those who don’t exercise regularly. It can be calculated within the 150 minutes of weekly aerobic activity recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Although we do this automatically, the process is more complicated than most people think. Standing requires coordination between our visual vestibular systems (those associated with locomotion, and actions such as spinning or moving quickly) and sensorimotor systems (related to perceiving where our bodies are in space).

When we walk backwards, our brains take longer to process the additional demands of coordinating these systems. And this higher level of challenge can be beneficial to the organism.

One of the best studied benefits of backward walking is improved stability and balance in the body. Being active can help us improve our natural gait (i.e., forward), and in a balanced position, it can help both healthy adults — and those with osteoarthritis of the knee.

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Walking backwards, we take shorter and more frequent steps, which improves the strength of the leg muscles and reduces the load on the joints.

Changing your pace or incline — up and down — can change the range of motion in your joints and muscles, providing relief from pain associated with conditions such as plantar fasciitis, one of the most common causes of injury. Heel pain🇧🇷

The change in position required by walking backwards causes the body to place more demands on the muscles that support the lower back. In this sense, the method can also be a particularly beneficial exercise for people with injuries Back pain chronic.

This technique has also been used to identify problems with balance and walking speed in patients who have neurological problems or who have suffered a stroke (brain attack) – and helped in the treatment.

Higher energy expenditure

Research on this topic has identified benefits of backward walking that go beyond treatment. Studies show, for example, that this technique can help the body lose weight faster.

Energy expenditure with a change in step direction is approximately 40% greater than when walking at the same forward speed: 6.0m, versus 4.3m. “Met” is the English abbreviation for Metabolic Equivalent, which measures the amount of oxygen consumed at rest.

Another study showed a decrease in body fat percentage in women who completed a six-week walking or running training program.

While this technique has been researched more as a rehabilitation tool, it also increases the strength of the muscles that support the knee – which not only helps prevent injury, but also improves the functioning of the body.

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If the method starts to feel uncomfortable, it is possible to increase the level of challenge by using weights. Lifting a load puts more stress on the knee extensor muscles, while putting a lot of stress on the heart and lungs in a short period of time.

Using light weights, this type of exercise can produce an appropriate level of resistance to encourage significant improvements in lower body strength.

Among young athletes, the use of weights that correspond to up to 10% of body weight can be improved.the enemy(Sudden increase in speed in a short time).

How to start

Walking backwards is simple, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. So how do you incorporate the method into your workout routine?

Since there is a risk that potential obstacles – that could make us stumble or fall – go unnoticed, for safety reasons it is best to start indoors, where you know you will not bump into something or someone. Another alternative is to do it in an open, flat space.

Resist the temptation to convulse and look over your shoulder. Keep your head and chest lifted as you extend your big toe back with each step, moving your foot from toes to heel.

Once you’re more confident, you can pick up the pace and move up to the treadmill, using as many grab bars as you see fit.

If you decide to use weights, start with a light load. Focus on doing multiple sets rather than running long distances – you can start with 20-meter stretches, always paying attention to the quality of your technique.

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🇧🇷jack McNamara is Professor of Clinical Exercise Physiology at the University of East London, UK.

** This article was originally published on Academic News Conversation It is republished under a Creative Commons license. Click here to read the original version (In English).

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About the Author: Camelia Kirk

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