Running backwards

Ever tried running backwards? OK, so bear with us here, it’s really not as crazy as it sounds. It’s actually very good for you and it’s more popular now than ever 

Officially it’s known as retro running, but it’s also known as backward or reverse running. And it is exactly what it says – running backwards! You run while keeping your lower limbs parallel to the direction of travel, but your shoulders and head should be rotated to keep your path under control – even though the best retro runners hardly ever turn it.

Because the head is facing forward, the runner doesn’t see anything on the ground or in the way of their path in the backward run. And this method is especially good for runners who have knee problems as research shows significantly lower impact on that joint. Research also show it burns more calories at a given rate so that 10 minutes backward running is equivalent to 25 minutes forward running


Improves posture and balance: Running backwards leads to a natural change of posture. You need to stand more upright, correcting your posture during the forward run. Without fully relying on sight you are forced to listen more attentively, improve your balance and develop your peripheral vision.

Better oxygenation: Maximum oxygen uptake (VO2) is 84 per cent in backward running versus 60 per cent in forward running;

Better results for losing weight: If the reason for your workout is to lose the extra pounds, then retro-running is the fitness regime you were looking for: running backwards helps burn about 30 per cent more calories than running forward.

Reduces impact, kinder on injuries:  Changing to running backward will reduce sore areas in your ankles and knees, letting any injured area recover. If you are able to alternate running forward and backward once healthy, you may be able to avoid developing any of those pains to begin with.

Better performance: When running backwards, more effort is needed in terms of movement. This increases cardiovascular efficiency and improves endurance.

It reduces boredom: Conventional running for miles can be a tedious activity. Adding running backwards to your routine is fun and exciting.

Even Muscle Growth: Running backwards not only strengthens your muscles, but makes calf muscles, quadriceps and shins more balanced as you reach greater muscle strength.

Perfect abs: Running backwards engages your abdominal muscles, providing you with an on-the-go ab workout. And it allows your lower back muscles to get some well-needed rest, too.


• Backward running is a less-natural motion, so start out backward walking (also called retropedaling) which is relatively easy and increase your speed over time.

• Practice rolling and exercising force backwards with your arms through various exercises such as crab walking or axes as this can help stop damage or injury from falls.

• Running backwards up a gradient is safest as will be at a lower speed, reducing the dangers caused if you should stumble.