Fitness fads and trends come and go, and this article explores the “new” fitness fad of running backward as a means to rehabilitate your body or get fitter.
Even we admit that this one sounds a little bit strange, to say the least, and watching someone run backward across the park must get heads turning (assuming someone is brave enough to do this out in the open.) But, according to experts, it really works.
We’ve done our research, scoured the internet, and read the research papers, and in this article, we will look at how to change the way you run to incorporate reverse running into your training program along with some of the proven benefits that reverse running can have on your health and performance.
Thinking logically, forwards is a scenic 30-minute run; backward is a surreal nightmare logistically, physically, and mentally with traffic lights, uneven road surfaces, and highly amused wide-eyed tourists all competing to knock you off your feet.
But is running backwards the way forward?
Now, as weird as it may sound, reverse running or retro running, as it is sometimes known, has substantial benefits that may improve your usual running technique, including improving your posture, coordination, and balance.
Retro running enthusiasts claim that in addition to these, the whole process of running backwards entails less sidewalk pounding that is usually associated with regular running or jogging. As a result, there is less strain on your knee, and ankle joints, and studies suggest that this form of exercise can also burn more calories.
Scientists in the South African University of Stellenbosch found that in a six-week study of 26 female students, those that ran for 15-45 minutes adopting the reverse running technique lost up to 2.5% of their body weight by switching to reverse running alone.
As with most forms of cardiovascular exercise, the overall goal is to improve the results of your normal cardio workout substantially, whether you opt for running, cycling, swimming, or hitting the gym hard.
Build Stamina, Improve Balance
Industry experts have claimed that reverse running should be a crucial practice for athletes as it helps build stamina, improve balance and speed, strengthen leg muscles, and add a little variety to your normal workout. It will help when part of an overall diet and exercise regime, perhaps with supplements that you can review at expert resources like orphicnutrition.com.
Reverse running not only lessens the damage to joints but can also help with oxygenation (getting oxygen into the lungs). When you are running normally, you are breathing in the air at a faster rate as it’s coming towards you. With reverse running, the air hits your back, allowing the lungs to relax more and improve oxygenation.
Obviously, you need to find the right technique for you, as you must with any form of exercise, which is vital to avoid accidents or injuries. Finding the proper place to train should be your first step; over-populated areas could do more harm than good as you have more chance of running right into someone or tripping and causing yourself a serious injury.
Open spaces such as parks, tracks, or even the beach are great places to start practicing your reverse running techniques before you unleash yourself onto the unsuspecting public.
Retraining yourself in the art of running should be your next step; holding your arms low to the body and keeping your shoulders in line with your feet is the recommended stance. Experts have said that pushing off from the balls of your feet and keeping them low to the ground is the best way to start. They also advise that training with a partner would be beneficial to avoid unnecessary trips and falls.
It may feel like looking backward to go forwards is a complete waste of time for the seasoned runner, but as with any form of exercise, there’s no harm in injecting a little fun into your training sessions, especially if you are finding your current training sessions a little tedious and boring. And, if the research is correct, a change in direction could give your performance a much-needed boost as well.
Keeping training fun means it is also more likely to keep it up, rather than calling it a day and falling into bad habits like a lack of exercise. Doing that makes it seem twice and hard to get going once again.