Nov 5, 2023, 02:39 PM IST
In your typical forward walk, you step heel-to-toe, meaning your heel makes contact with the ground before your toes. Backward walking reverses this pattern, with your toes touching down first, altering muscle engagement in your hips and legs. Studies show that walking in reverse, or retro walking, places a greater workload on your leg muscles compared to forward walking.
Reverse walking is more calorie-intensive than regular walking because it engages your muscles more. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) states that walking briskly at 3.5 miles per hour burns 4.3 METs, while walking backward burns 6.0 METs.
Reverse walking can enhance your cardiorespiratory fitness, improving the efficiency of oxygen supply by your heart and lungs during exercise. In a small study, young women underwent a six-week training programme involving backward walking and running, resulting in decreased body fat and enhanced cardiorespiratory fitness.
According to specialists, walking in reverse reduces stress on the knee joint and kneecaps. It also reinforces the quadriceps, providing better knee support, potentially alleviating discomfort caused by conditions or injuries like knee osteoarthritis and runner’s knee.
Walking in reverse also benefits your cognitive function. While walking is typically an automated activity for many, reverse walking demands increased attention and deliberate awareness of your movements. This can enhance your proprioception and overall body awareness as you navigate.