Feb 05, 2017 2:53 PM GMT
NYT: The biomechanics of running backward are, unsurprisingly, almost exactly the inverse of the forward version.
Because it is relatively strenuous, backward running can be effective in building fitness. A 2014 study found that even among walkers, going backward resulted in greater improvements in physical performance than a comparable amount of forward walking.
Similarly, for a 2016 study, experienced runners who traded their normal training program for five weeks of backward running became about 2.5 percent more efficient by the end when running forward. They could now run faster without requiring more oxygen.
Backward running also results in less pounding of the knees, studies show, so it is sometimes used to help runners rehabilitate from injuries to that joint.
But there is a literal downside. People often trip, stumble or slam into objects and other people while running backward. As a 2015 study diplomatically concluded, backward running results in “a higher magnitude of coordination variability” than forward running.