Heading out for an invigorating, brisk walk may be part of your daily fitness routine. Well, get excited, because your walking regimen just got a major upgrade. People are “retro walking,” or walking backward, and the benefits seem to be phenomenal. Before you lace up your sneakers and head outdoors to get in your strides, keep reading to learn all about the pros of walking backward and why people swear by it for an effective workout. And when you get back, be sure to check out the 7 Balance Exercises a 60-Year-Old Yoga Instructor Does For Peak Mobility.
What are the benefits of retro walking, or walking backward?
We were intrigued by the concept of retro walking, so we linked up with Ronny Garcia, CPT, Blink Fitness, to learn all about this catchy workout trend. Garcia explains, “Walking backward can challenge your balance and coordination in different ways than forward walking. The movement images different muscles and requires an increased awareness of your surroundings.” He adds, “Backward walking challenges different muscle groups, such as the calves, hamstrings, and glutes.”
You likely don’t think twice about taking your normal daily steps. However, retro walking involves much more awareness of your surroundings. In addition, it demands much more concentration and attention with each backward step you take—which is a good thing! As Garcia points out, “These forms of mental engagement could have cognitive benefits such as improved focus and spatial awareness.”
Science backs up the goodness associated with retro walking. According to research, walking backward can positively impact your gait and balance ability.
People swear by backward walking for a productive workout.
People on TikTok are raving about the body health benefits associated with retro walking. According to Chayse Byrd in a TikTok video, “A little over six months ago, I posted a video of me talking about the benefits of walking backward on the treadmill. When I posted that video, I had only been doing it for about a month, but within that month, I saw a lot of improvement in my knee health, my coordination, my overall joint health, my posture, and all that fun stuff. Now here I am almost eight months later, and here’s what’s different after doing this long-term.”
The main reason Byrd wanted to test out backward walking was in the name of joint and knee health. She had a lot of discomfort at the time and was game to find any solution. She started retro walking on the treadmill before workouts for five minutes at two miles per hour at a 5% incline. Since then, she is able to perform a wide variety of workouts. Byrd also noticed much improvement in her knee and ankle range of motion. In addition, she no longer feels like she has cracking “old lady knees” and that her posture is “nearly perfect.”