I've been going backwards with my workouts recently.
I know the feeling. Just when you're hitting those goals, along comes the rain and you're back on the couch again with your friends Tim and Tam.
No - it's not that. Look closely. Can you see what's different about my running?
Weird! You're facing me, and yet growing farther away.
Behold - the hottest 2022 fitness trend: running backwards. UK research shows a 50 percent increase in global searches for "reverse running" since the end of 2020 and #backwardsrunning videos have notched up more than 100,000 views on TikTok. Experts call it "retro running".
Cool. I've always wanted to jog in neon eighties Lycra.
This isn't fashion - it's health. As part of your regular exercise routine, running backwards offers big benefits.
Spreading mirth at your local park and boosting your resilience to mockery?
Reverse running challenges your body differently from moving forwards. It requires a greater range of hip motion and more activation of the calves and quadriceps.
Reverse running challenges your body differently from moving forwards.
It places more demands on your glutes and core, too, and according to a 2016 study in the Journal of Strength Conditioning, generates greater muscle activity and heart and lung activation and burns more calories than its forwards counterpart.
Experts at running bible Runner's World reckon that one backwards lap is the effort equivalent of eight forward laps. Kinder to your knees, reverse running is excellent for injury rehabilitation too.
Wow. Sounds like I should change direction.
Dr Robert K Stevenson, author of The Backwards Running Manual, recommends running both ways. Reverse running complements your normal running by strengthening your posterior muscle chain. This improves your posture and overall balance - and counteracts that forward hunch we adopt at our desks all day. Big plus.
Something tells me this isn't really new.
Right. Sportspeople have long been backward running to enhance their performance. It's an established go-to for boxers, wrestlers and footballers. It's used in military training too.
It probably helps confuse the enemy. So how do I begin?
Try a few minutes after or during your warm-up. Aim for an open space with a grassy surface in case of mishaps - or even a treadmill at first (because handrails).
And prepare for passing comedians to shout: "you're going the wrong way!"
Ignore them and remember - they're the backward ones.
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