Reverse Running Could Be The Key To Avoiding Workout Injuries

We all know exercise is important. Just getting in a few squats or lunges during commercial breaks can make a healthy difference in your life. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, physical activity betters your brain health, muscles, and bones while reducing the likelihood of disease. An easy workout that requires no equipment or machinery at all is running.

Running gets your heart pumping, blood flowing, and helps you burn calories. However, this cardio exercise is not without risk. Some athletes experience a common problem called runner's knee. To avoid hurting your joints, you don't have to take running off the table completely. Reverse running might be the answer to getting your cardio in without workout injuries. This exercise may sound different, but experts swear by it. It's finally time to use that gym membership you're still paying for. Let's do our pre-running stretches and get ready to run backwards.

Reverse running can be more effective than forward running

Running backwards might look like a glitch, but it is actually an effective exercise. This cardio goes by the name of retro running in the professional fitness world. Yes, there is a professional side to this and even a championship. It can be a great exercise to improve posture and reduce injury. Since retro running is a low-impact workout, it reduces the pressure on your knees and hips, resulting in less trauma risk. 

Sports scientists at Manchester Metropolitan University researched retro running with athlete Shantelle Gaston-Hird. She is a marathon runner and holds the record for the fastest female to complete a half marathon running backwards. Dr. Dave Sims, a professor of sports performance, found, "The way in which the muscles contract when running backwards is likely to make them stronger, meaning that our muscles can cope with applying more force for longer, meaning that we could run quicker, for longer." 

Experts continue to sing reverse running its praises. Certified fitness trainer Kieran Knight shared with InsideHook, "Your quads, shins, and calves are being put to more work. They don't usually undergo that sort of training, so the activity becomes harder. I'd compare retro running to uphill running — it trains your muscles differently while promoting muscular balance." There's no harm in trying reverse running. In fact, it can prevent it. Here's how you can add this unique cardio to your fitness routine. 

A reverse running exercise routine

For beginners, you'll want to start slow. A crowded track or busy street isn't the ideal place to break into reverse running. You can try running backwards on a treadmill. With the exercise machine, you have control over your speed, and there are handles if you need extra support. Any flat surface will do if you don't have access to a treadmill. Running in the grass will pad any falls if you're worried about trips.

To introduce this cardio style, you can entirely replace your warm-up with retro running or simply race for three to five minutes to finish your get-ready routine. This way, you'll get used to the form before completing laps backwards. Once you're comfortable, you can retro run to fulfill the amount of cardio you need each week. To level up your workout, try retrograde running, otherwise known as running reverse uphill. You'll definitely feel the burn.

Remember, during your run, it's okay to look back to make sure your path is clear, and don't expect to run just as quickly backwards as you do forwards. You might get funny looks, but you'll feel less weight on your knees while strengthening your muscles.