Tag Archives: flexibility

The benefits of walking – backwards

Last month I started my tenth year of writing this blog. When I began I was a financial journalist writing about an entirely new subject. Now, after some 3000+ posts, I consider myself to be a reporter on the health, fitness and longevity beat. Compared to a doctor, I probably don’t know much, but compared to what I knew when I started, I have learned a ton.

So, it is with some small embarrassment that I tell you that I just learned about how very good for the body it is to walk backwards.

grayscale photography of five people walking on road

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Here are three experts on the subject:

The famed (and respected by me) Dr. Mercola says, ” Walking backwards helps you to use muscles and movements that you probably rarely use, making it an ideal way to change up your exercise routine for greater fitness gains. When you walk backwards, it puts less strain and requires less range of motion from your knee joints, which is useful for people with knee problems or injuries. Backward walking may help relieve lower back pain, improve hamstring flexibility, burn more fat and calories in less time than traditional walking, improve balance and even sharpen your thinking skills and vision. When walking backwards, do so in a safe location, such as on a track, to avoid falling over obstacles in your path; you can also take a buddy with you to act as your “eyes” and alert you to any upcoming dangers.”

Livestrong “Two University of Oregon professors, Barry Bates and Janet Dufek, have studied the benefits of backward walking and running on people since the 1980’s. They found that backward walking creates reduced shear force on the knees, and may be useful for anyone experiencing pain going up and stairs or doing lunges or squats. Walking backwards uses more energy in a shorter period of time, and burns more calories. It is good for those recovering from hamstring strain because of reduced hip range of motion. Backward walking creates no eccentric loading of the knee joint, the lengthening phase of going down hills or stairs, and can give hikers and scramblers some rest from overuse.”

Lastly, and perhaps most interesting because of the neurobic aspect, The Asian Heart Institute. “When we walk backwards, we obviously cannot see what is happening behind our back so with regular practice our senses automatically build a defense mechanism against potential dangers. This gradually improves balance, peripheral vision and hearing skills. Retro walking is more of a neurobic activity; a physical activity that unofficially invites the brain’s enthusiastic participation. Neurobic activities create a nexus of brand new neural connections in your brain that help you stay mentally sharp, polish your memory and dodge the unwelcome and debilitating guests of later life such as the Alzheimer’s.”

As usual, your comments are invited. I am always interested in your reactions to these posts.

Having added backwards walking to my day, I would like to add the following: Start slow and take small steps. Don’t try to walk long distances, start small, less chance of falling. No point in setting yourself back.

Finally, for the record, check out my Page – Why you should walk more.

Tony

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Filed under Exercise, exercise benefits, flexibility, neurobic exercise, walking, walking backwards

The Sitting/Rising Test Gives Clues to How Long You Might Live

I have just run across this amazing test that is utterly simple to take yet profound in its revelations. How much difficulty middle-aged and older adults have sitting down and rising up off the floor actually seems to give indications of the chances of long-term survival.

The more support a person needs to get down to the floor and up from it, the more likely that person has a lower chance of living a long life, according to a study published in the European Journal of Preventative Cardiology.

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Ability to sit and rise from the floor is closely correlated with all-cause mortality risk
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Interested in how you would do on the test? Here is a You Tube demonstration:

Each of the two basic movements was assessed and scored out of 5, with one point being subtracted from 5 for each support used (hand or knee, for example). Subjects were thus assessed by a composite score of 0 to 10. Continue reading

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Filed under aging, Exercise, flexibility

Is Cycling Past 70 Different Than Cycling Past 50?

I ran across this excellent discussion of senior cycling on RoadBikeRider.com. They have graciously permitted me to reprint it. See permission at end.

RBR Editor’s Note: Coach John Hughes copied me on a recent email exchange he had with Marty Hoganson, an RBR reader with whom he had ridden on tours in years gone by. Marty wondered what, if any, differences there are in terms of recovery, motivation, etc., between 50-somethings and 70-somethings. Both agreed to let me share the exchange with RBR readers. It provides a wealth of solid, useful information.

Marty Asked:
These days I live and ride in Yuma, Arizona. I am involved in our local bike club called Foothills Bicycle Club, which is primarily made up of retired folks – late-50s to mid-80s. Many strong riders in their 60s and 70s, for their ages — or any age, for that matter.

Now that I am older also I have taken some interest in your articles on cycling and aging. I was wondering how cycling over 70 relates to your articles on cycling over 50? I’m pretty sure they don’t necessarily relate well. I am arriving in that 70+ age group this year, and have been feeling the difference in recovery time and healing from injuries for quite a few years.

The plus 70 year old blogger riding with his dog on Northerly Island in Chicago.

The plus 70 year old blogger riding with his dog on Northerly Island in Chicago.

What used to take three days to recover from, while riding a tour, may now take longer than the tour lasts. Maybe months longer. I ride year-round and still ride pretty strong, but I’m also experiencing a loss of interest in doing long days. I still like to do long tours, but with shorter days. I’m wondering if the lack of desire or drive might be a major contributing factor in the loss of performance, or if the loss of performance leads to the lack of desire to train harder? Also, if the shorter days might lead to the longer recovery times? Continue reading

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Filed under aging, biking, blood pressure, cardio exercise, Exercise, general well-being, health, healthy living, heart, living longer, men's health, muscles, seniors, stretching, Weight

How Does Chiropractic Help Increase Mobility?

As a senior citizen I am all for anything that increases the quality of my life.

Tony

SwissChiropractic's Blog

When we’re younger, it’s easy to take our extensive range of motion and flexibility for granted.  But as we age, a number of health conditions and the cumulative effects of wear and tear can affect our ability to move the way we used to.  When this happens it can be difficult to carry on the activities of daily life.  Even things as simple as picking ysomething up off the floor or tying your shoes can be challenging activities when your movements are curtailed.  Luckily, regular chiropractic care can help increase both range of motion and flexibility.

A study performed in 2001 by researchers at the Phillip Chiropractic Research Centre of RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, and published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics found that chiropractic adjustments increased range of motion in the 105 patients who participated in the study.  There were three phases of this study, in…

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Filed under chiropractors, flexibility