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From Associated Press: Runners promote jogging backward
May 25, 2006 05:55:47 PM PST
Timothy "Bud" Badyna has broken world records. He ran a marathon in under four hours. He finished a 10K race in 45 minutes.
Wait a minute, you say, that's not so fast.
Right. But Badyna set those records running backward.
Badyna, dubbed "Backwards Bud" by fellow runners, holds the Guinness World Record for fastest backward run in a 200-meter race (32.78 seconds), set in 2001. In the early 1990s, he held the record for backward marathon (3 hours, 53 minutes) and 10K (45 minutes, 37 seconds).
Those records have since been broken. So the 39-year-old hospital nurse from St. Simon's Island isn't the only one who turns his back on traditional running. About 500 people in the United States Â— more in Europe Â— walk or run backward. Experts say it burns a fifth more calories than traditional jogging.
"Your balance increases. Your hearing increases. Your peripheral vision increases," said Badyna (pronounced Ba-Deena).
"The downside is being blindsided. You don't have any eyes behind you but your senses pick up. As long as you go someplace safe Â— a track, a familiar road, you'll cut down the chances of any unforseen obstacles coming your way," he said.
Backward walking and running dates back to the 1970s, when forward-looking runners practiced it while injured. Doctors later recommended it as part of physical therapy and it's often used by baseball pitchers or track runners in preliminary warm-ups.
Also called retro-running, it's been popular for years in Europe where races vary from sprints to the 26.2-mile marathon.
"It's a reasonable and a good way to incorporate another means of exercise to lessen the stress on any given part of the body," said Barry T. Bates, a professor emeritus of biomechanics at the University of Oregon.
It also helps people recover from knee-joint surgery and injuries ranging from the ankle to the groin, he said.
And it strengthens the heart, lungs, muscles and joints, said Gary Gray, a physical therapist in Adrian, Mich., who has been recommending backward exercise to his patients for 30 years.
"It's good for the hips, good for the legs, good for the trunk," Gray said. "When you go backwards, your tummy becomes your back and creates a nice reaction for your abdominals. Putting it in reverse for a while is a pretty good deal."
The drawback, of course, is a lack of hindsight. Bates and others recommend that newcomers to backward walking or running do it gradually on a track to avoid potholes, signs, cars and other hazards.
Bill Reitemeyer of Brick, N.J., said he had trouble in his first backward race in 1993.
"I did step directly into a hole Â— by the grace of God, I literally pulled my foot out straight or I think I would have fallen," he said. Four years later, he won a race when two of his closest competitors tripped and fell over a bump in the road.
Running backward on roads is filled with added dangers from street gutters to parked cars.
"I used to do it on the roads, but now I stick to soccer fields," says Arthur Magni, 34, of Newton, Mass., who has been running backward in competitive events for 11 years. "Start on a quiet track, somewhere there's not a lot of people and just follow the lines."
When Badyna is training at home, he runs backward on streets while his girlfriend cycles alongside to point out any hazards. In backward races, runners often will become familiar with the course by running forward beforehand.
There is an advantage to running backward when it comes to competitions: "When you get the lead, you can see everyone, you can pace yourself better," Reitemeyer said.
"It's strange, but you have an eye on everybody." Reitemeyer won New York City's backwards mile race in 1995, 1997 and 1998.
Back in St. Simons Island, Badyna has his eye on regaining the world titles he lost to overseas runners. He'll have to beat a marathon time of more than 3 hours, 43 minutes set by Xu Zhenjun of China in 2004 and a 10K time of 45 minutes, 31 seconds set by Vangal A. Mathiyazhagan of India.
"I've always said if someone beats that (my record) I'd try to train for that Â— 3:43 is damn impressive," Badyna said. "I think with the right training, maybe I could do a 3:30."
gee mark ... you really had me going there for minute as I was about to delete your message a crap spam and scratch my head wondering why you would post rubbish .... then a light bulb went off in the head and it all made sense ... just a bit slow tonight --- got two things on my mind....
Press Release: Backward Running is the next big fitness craze: Entrants now sought for London's first ever race
Backward Running is the next big fitness craze: Entrants now sought for London's first ever race
Backward running, also known as reverse running and retro running has amazing benefits and is considered a super-exercise. In fact there are a staggering 100 reasons to start running backwards with benefits felt to virtually every part of the body. Did you know backward running can even improve your love life and make you a better dancer? On a more serious note it can turn you into a top athlete and prolong your running career. Yet it is a relatively new phenomenon in the UK with mostly negative connotations. But that is about to change with the announcement of London's first ever race which is now seeking entrants.
Following on from the success of the UK Backward Running Championships last year in Manchester, the London Backward Running Championships will take place in Crystal Palace Park, South London on Sunday 17th July. There will be 1km and 3km races for men and women. Alongside the competitive races, there will also be a 'charity fun backward run and walk' event for anyone who prefers to experience the backward concept without the pressures of competing. The fun event will also offer entrants a fabulous and novel way to raise money.
Backward running will appeal to absolutely anyone: from the fitness enthusiast looking for their next challenge to the competitive runner wanting to run even faster. Even people who are chronically averse to sport will be attracted to backward running because of its 'fun' image.
Here are just a few reasons to try it.
Running backwards gives you a fabulous cardiovascular workout. Research by the University of Oregon showed that you have to maintain only 80 percent of your forward-running speed for the same amount of effort. Whilst other studies have shown that VO2 (oxygen consumption) and heart rate significantly increase during backward running. It is therefore unsurprising when people claim that running backwards for just one lap could be equivalent to up to six laps of forward running. Think of the time you could save! There is more good news for runners struggling to lose weight “ backward running apparently burns a third more calories.
Backward running restores a balance to the lower leg muscles. Performing the same action repeatedly i.e. running forwards, without some effort to oppose it, means we are stressing the same area of the body and building up a dangerous imbalance, until it inevitably breaks down. Bear in mind that many runners with chronic knee problems demonstrate over tight hamstrings and weak quadriceps
Restoring a balance partly explains why running backwards could reduce the risk of injury. Further reasons are a change in the lower extremity kinetics and the introduction of a toe to heel foot strike. For the majority of forward runners, the heel hits the ground first and the knees act as the reluctant shock absorbers. However, going backwards the force related trauma is minimised. Sort out the imbalance and integrate into our running a more favourable running style and we could be on our way to a less injury prone life.
Backwards running is the perfect knee rehabilitative exercise because it can maintain an athlete's cardiovascular fitness levels whilst minimising the impact at the knee joint (see above). Furthermore, backward running develops muscles along the sides of the knee and this actually strengthens the knees over time. Other conditions that could respond well to backward running include shin splints and muscle sprains to the lower back, groin and hamstrings
You run with a more erect posture, your shoulders will draw back and your back will be straight. Compare this to the slightly slumped posture and protruding abdomen often observed in runners. Studies have also shown that over time backward running can lead to realigned vertebrae and relieve pressure on the nerves.
Running without the reliance on sight develops other senses, especially hearing whilst improving your balance and peripheral vision. There may also be an increase in proprioception (the body's ability to sense movement within joints and joint position). Is backward running the ultimate wobble board?
Backward running gives your abs a workout. When you run forward, your lower back takes most of the load, but turning around creates a nice reaction for your abdominal muscles whilst the lower back gets some respite.
It's fun, the perfect psychological lift for anyone in the running doldrums and adds an exciting, varied element to your workout, especially when performed in a group. Perhaps half way through your next ten mile training run, why not turn around and run backwards (provided it's somewhere safe) for one minute.
Patellofemoral pain (PFP) is a common injury and increased patellofemoral joint compression forces (PFJCF) may aggravate symptoms. Backward running (BR) has been suggested for exercise with reduced PFJCF.
The aims of this study were to (1) investigate if BR had reduced peak PFJCF compared to forward running (FR) at the same speed, and (2) if PFJCF was reduced in BR, to investigate which biomechanical parameters explained this. It was hypothesized that (1) PFJCF would be lower in BR, and (2) that this would coincide with a reduced peak knee moment caused by altered ground reaction forces (GRFs).
Twenty healthy subjects ran in forward and backward directions at consistent speed. Kinematic and ground reaction force data were collected; inverse dynamic and PFJCF analyses were performed.
PFJCF were higher in FR than BR (4.5±1.5; 3.4±1.4BW; p<0.01). The majority of this difference (93.1%) was predicted by increased knee moments in FR compared to BR (157±54; 124±51Nm; p<0.01). 54.8% of differences in knee moments could be predicted by the magnitude of the GRF (2.3±0.3; 2.4±0.2BW), knee flexion angle (44±6; 41±7) and center of pressure location on the foot (25±11; 12±6%) at time of peak knee moment. Results were not consistent in all subjects.
It was concluded that BR had reduced PFJCF compared to FR. This was caused by an increased knee moment, due to differences in magnitude and location of the GRF vector relative to the knee. BR can therefore be used to exercise with decreased PFJCF.
But a small body of science suggests that backward running enables people to avoid or recover from common injuries, burn extra calories, sharpen balance and, not least, mix up their daily routine.
A 2012 study found that backward running causes far less impact to the front of the knees. It also burns more calories at a given pace. In a recent study, active female college students who replaced their exercise with jogging backward for 15 to 45 minutes three times a week for six weeks lost almost 2.5 percent of their body fat.