Reverse, or retro, running might sound like a joke, but it’s been hailed as 2022’s latest fitness trend, and with the long list of benefits, there’s a good reason.
In his 2013 book, Backwards Running, Dr Robert K Stevenson stresses that every runner should include retro running in their routine, arguing you could benefit more by learning to systematically alternate between backwards and forwards running throughout your workout.
So, why would anyone want to run backwards?
Improves weight loss
Well, for starters, reverse running could kickstart your weight loss journey. Depending on your goals, you might be aiming to burn calories and reduce body fat. If so, then you’re in luck, because the act of running backwards helps to burn approximately 30% more calories than running forward.
Not only can you burn more calories overall, but if you continue to run the same amount of time, then your workout becomes more efficient and time-saving. Burning more calories in the same amount of time sounds good, right?
A runner’s worst nightmare is a repetitive strain injury. Trying to maintain fitness levels while not causing further injuries is difficult, but did you know, that by running backwards you could find your body adjusts to using different techniques, placing emphasis on different muscles, ligaments, and tendons?
Aaron Yoder is the world’s fastest backwards runner, and he took up reverse running to deal with a knee injury after being told he might have to give up the activity altogether. Instead, he jumped on his treadmill and turned around, ultimately discovering his knees were under less strain.
So, if you’re not ready to confuse onlookers by running backwards down the street, follow in the footsteps of a professional and start your journey on treadmills and running machines in the privacy of your own home.
Do you find yourself slouching or nursing lower back injuries? Well, reverse running could be the answer.
Forward running can cause us to slouch, and bending forward at the waist contributes to poor running form, which over miles turns into pain and discomfort. Running backwards leads to a natural change in posture that requires you to stand up straighter, so your spine is supported by the surrounding muscles, eventually correcting your posture during a forward run.
As a bonus, it also engages your abdominal muscles, providing you with an on-the-go ab workout. Your back takes most of the load when running forwards but switching directions and running backwards will help maintain good form while keeping your abdominal muscles burning.
Run backwards to move forwards
Reverse running is a great psychological lift for anyone that’s tired or fed up with their bog-standard exercise routine, so it’s no surprise that the activity has blown up as a fitness trend this year.
Running backwards sounds ridiculous, but it’s a great way of switching up your workout and helping your body feel several new benefits.
Whether you’re hitting the streets, or twirling on your treadmill adding an exciting and varied element to your routine can make all the difference to your enjoyment and motivation when working out, because, as the saying goes, variety is the spice of life!