Running Backwards Is the Way Forward. IT MIGHT LOOK TOTALLY CRAZY BUT YOU'LL WORK MUSCLES YOU DIDN'T KNOW YOU HAD

The Evening Standard (London, England), April 16, 2007 | Go to article overview

Running Backwards Is the Way Forward. IT MIGHT LOOK TOTALLY CRAZY BUT YOU'LL WORK MUSCLES YOU DIDN'T KNOW YOU HAD


Byline: CLAIRE COLEMAN

AS I watch all those runners pounding the streets in the London Marathon next Sunday, I will be chortling at their foolishness.

While I admire their training and dedication, these poor, unenlightened souls will be running forwards. I, on the other hand, have seen the light and know that the future is running backwards.

Backwards running - or retro running, as it is termed by those in the know - has been around for years. The Japanese set the pace thousands of years ago, but an Australian personal trainer is bringing it to London.

David Higgins first encountered retro running when he was playing Australian Rules Football in his home country.

His team incorporated it in its training. "It's great for increasing communication between players, as you have to rely on forward-running team-mates to tell you where you're going and if there are any obstacles," he said.

However, the value of retro running extends beyond this. Devotees claim a host of benefits, such as improved peripheral vision, coordinat ion and balance.

So, I meet up with David in Kensington Gardens to f i nd out more. He takes me for a jog forwards as a warmup and explains why he has always used backwards running with his clients.

"It's great for people who can't or don't want to run forwards. Not many people actually like going out and running for an hour, but doing short bursts of backwards running gives a good cardio workout, keeps it interesting and also helps burn fat."

Some experts believe retro running can burn up to 20 per cent more fat than conventional running because of the muscles used. It's time to give it a go.

David gets me to walk backwards before gradually picking up the pace. He runs alongside me, acting as my eyes, so I don't have to crane my neck to see if I'm about to trip over a stick, or the snogging couple who have taken a break to giggle at my antics. …

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