Thinking about walking backwards on a treadmill? It’s a great way to add variety to your workout, burn calories and improve your coordination and posture. And virtually anyone can do it!
Research has shown that this form of exercise, also known as retro walking, puts greater strain on your cardiovascular system than moving forward at the same speed.
This means you can strengthen your heart and lungs while burning calories quicker than forward walking. Think about it! Isn’t it harder to move backwards than forward? That extra level of difficulty requires more energy, resulting in more calories burned.
It also works your muscles in a different way and targets your quadriceps and calves. Forward walking works your hamstrings and glutes so moving both forward and backwards is a great way to target all of the major muscle groups in your lower half.
Because this will be a new exercise to you, you’ll have to pay attention to your balance as well, which is a great way to improve coordination and posture and engage and strengthen your core muscles.
Don’t attempt this if you have balance or coordination difficulties! Do not hold onto the handrails. Holding onto the handrails completely changes your posture and negates the positive benefits of this form of exercise.
Start off slow. Remember, this is a completely new sensation for you and it will take some getting used to. Take it slow and only increase speed when you feel comfortable. Once you feel comfortable, you can add an incline to give your muscles a more challenging workout. You can take the incline up to a level 4 when you are comfortable.
Mix in intervals into your current routine. This will give you a total lower body workout while enjoying the benefits of walking in both directions.
For example, go forward for three minutes at 3.5 to 4.0 mph with a 4 - 6 incline level (you can mix up the speed and incline based on your fitness level), then turn around and go backwards for two minutes at 2.5 to 3.0 mph with a 2 – 4 incline level.
Walking backwards on a treadmill can be a great addition to your exercise routine. Just remember to start slow and adjust according to your comfort level.
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