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Walking doesn’t need any kind of equipment, and it is effortless. However, challenging the brain and body and trying to work backwards could bring more health benefits. 

Backwards walking has health benefits 

Physical exercise should be simple irrespective of whether you exercise regularly or not. Interestingly even a ten-minute walk can deliver considerable benefits. Additionally, it could count towards the World Health Organisation’s recommended 150 minutes of physical activity each week.

Walking could be more complicated than most realize because staying upright requires coordination between visual, proprioceptive (awareness when the body is in space) and vestibular (sensations associated with spinning, moving fast or twisting) systems. Whenever someone walks backwards, the brain takes longer to process the extra coordination demands of the systems. Interestingly the increased challenge comes with enhanced health benefits. 

Enhanced stability and balance are among the well-researched benefits of backward walking. In addition, backward walking enhances gait and balance for individuals with known osteoarthritis and healthy adults. 

Whenever you walk backwards, you take shorter steps, contributing to the muscular endurance of low leg muscles while easing strain in joints. Plantar fasciitis is among the most frequent causes of heel discomfort and could be relieved by changes in decline and incline since it affects the motion range of muscles and joints. 

Backward walking alters our posture and uses many lumbar spine-supporting muscles, which suggests it may be a particularly effective exercise for those who experience persistent lower back discomfort.

The backward movement helped stroke patients in gaining stability 

Even after a severe stroke or neurological illness, patients’ stability and walking pace have been identified and treated using the backwards-walking method.

Interestingly the benefits of direction change are not just therapeutic, with interest in the backward movement leading to researchers discovering more benefits. For example, normal walking helps people maintain a healthy weight, but backward walking is even more effective. Energy expenditure when someone walks backwards is around 40% higher relative to walking forwards at the same speed. Interestingly, a study has shown body fat reductions in women who completed a six-week backward run or walk training program.