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Do you need a bike helmet with a...

Posted Oct 22 2008 6:14pm
Do you need a bike helmet with a rear view mirror??
As a physiotherapist, I am always interested in finding new exercises and routines to share with my patients.

As a woman fighting half a century of the effects of gravity, I personally like a new physical challenge.

This Real Age tip arrived in my mail box this week, and I had to laugh out loud at the images it conjured in my mind. Please, please do not try this unless you are bent on self-destruction. I do know one avid jogger who has told me he runs backwards at times, but I have never seen him in action. Much of my time is spent retraining people to walk forwards.

This exercise is only for the “Young and Reckless”.

Put Your Best Foot Backward
Get more from your walking workout by putting it in reverse. Walking backward burns more calories, improves coordination, and gives your heart and lungs a better workout than hoofing it forward -- as long as you maintain your speed. The reason? It forces your leg muscles to work harder and in different ways. Just do it in a safe place (like the local high school or college track) where you won't bump into something and take a spill.
If you have problems with balance, walking in reverse is not recommended. If you think it sounds like something you'd like to try but you're concerned about falling, buy a lightweight bike helmet with a rearview mirror so you can see where you're going. Or try walking on a treadmill while holding onto the side rails; start slowly until you get the hang of it. Then, just put one foot behind the other. Step for step at the same speed, you'll get bigger benefits going backwards!

Tip References:
The metabolic transition speed between backward walking and running. Terblanche, E., Cloete, W. A., du Plessis, P. A., Sadie, J. N., Strauss, A., Unger, M., European Journal of Applied Physiology 2003 Nov;90(5-6):520-525. Epub 2003 Jul 26.The effect of backward locomotion training on the body composition and cardiorespiratory fitness of young women. Terblanche, E., Page, C., Kroff, J., Venter, R. E., International Journal of Sports Medicine 2005 Apr;26(3):214-219.

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