Michael Mosley has shared a ‘simple but quirky’ exercise that burns calories, helps with back pain and also stimulates the brain. Dr. Mosley, who is known for his versions of the 5:2 and Fast 800 diets, says the unusual practice of walking backwards can have significant health benefits.
As reported by Wales Online, speaking on his Radio 4 show and podcast, he said: Correct. I think. Stop it. Now. Now, this is a technique that has been used in physical therapy for decades to rehabilitate lower leg injuries. It can improve your gait and mobility. And there’s a surprising amount of good scientific research that shows that walking backwards can even boost your memory and problem-solving skills.”
The diet guru said he was amazed that something so strange could have such a big impact. “When I first heard about this, I was really intrigued that something so simple and downright weird could have such a big impact. It can be done on a treadmill, but with care and a clear path, you can do it safely in your own home or outdoors.”
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Dr. Mosley explained that this can be done on a treadmill at the gym as long as there is a rail to hold on to, or it can be done at home, but you need to make sure you have a clear path. Dr. Mosley said it’s best to be outside if there is someone to guide you.
One of the first American pioneers of exercise was Patrick Harmon, who made his way back to New York from San Francisco more than a century ago. Dr Mosley added: “It has recently been adopted by physiotherapists as a treatment for back pain, balance and gait.”
He said studies have shown that walking backwards uses about 30% more energy than walking forwards at the same speed. Dr Mosley added: “One South African study found that healthy volunteers lost an average of 2.5 percent of their body fat when they added walking backwards to their exercise regimen. Why might that be? Well, walking backwards uses muscles that are less active when walking forwards, such as your calves and calves, as well as your quadriceps.
“A small study in Texas showed that blood lactate levels were three times higher when walking backwards. And that’s a measure of how hard the muscles are working. Perhaps more surprisingly, reverse walking appears to enhance short-term memory. Researchers at the University of Roehampton in the UK asked 100 volunteers to watch a video and then either walk forwards, backwards or stand still.
“Strangely. The walking-back group consistently remembered more of the video than anyone else.”
Professor Janet Dufek from the University of Nevada Las Vegas said: “I think the main benefits are using the major muscle groups differently, and that has some implications for muscle flexibility, back pain, especially because of the way the muscles are used. And I think what surprised me the most, even though it shouldn’t have, is the improved stability and balance.
“I think that walking backwards can help reduce back pain because the hamstrings, the muscles in the back of the legs are stretched when you walk backwards, and that stretch allows for a greater range of motion and therefore reduces strain on the back. “.
Professor Dufek added about his research. “The work we did was with a small group of athletes and they all walked backwards for five weeks. And what we found was that 80% of them self-reported a reduction in back pain in the vast majority of athletes. It was actually beneficial, and we did a really interesting study on back flexibility.”
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