Learn about the benefits of walking “100 steps back” Learn about the benefits of walking “100 steps back”

Learn about the benefits of walking “100 steps back”

Learn about the benefits of walking “100 steps back”

Despite numerous studies that have proven the benefits of walking on public health, the goal of reaching 10,000 steps per day may seem a bit difficult for many.
In order to benefit from walking without taking thousands of steps a day, Dr. Michael Mosley, host of the Just One Thing podcast, says that walking backwards (reverse walking) instead of forwards for just a few minutes can have some surprising health benefits.

He noted in the latest episode of his podcast that he follows this “weird” practice (walking backwards), to help treat the “tingles” he experiences in his lower back and knees.

"This is a technique that has been used in physical therapy for decades to rehabilitate lower leg injuries. It can improve your gait and mobility, and there is a surprising amount of good scientific studies showing how walking backwards can strengthen your memory and problem-solving skills," he explained.

Mosley described walking backwards as "a very ancient practice. It is believed to have originated in China, where it remains popular to this day."

He continued: "In fact, the Chinese have a saying that '100 steps backward is equal to 1,000 steps forward.'

Walking 100 steps backward has several benefits, including:

1. Burn more calories

According to Mosley, the diet expert, walking backwards uses more energy — about 30 percent, according to studies — so it helps the body burn slightly more calories than walking forwards.

He pointed to a study published by the International Journal of Sports Medicine, which found that healthy participants lost 2.5% of body fat by adding backward walking to their exercise plan.

"Backwalking uses muscles that are less active while walking forward, such as the calf, as well as the quadriceps, which is the large muscle in the front of the thigh," Dr. Mosley said.

2. Enhances short-term memory

Reverse walking can also boost short-term memory, Dr. Mosley said.

Mosley cited a study conducted by researchers from the University of Roehampton, who tested participants' memory of a video after asking them to walk backwards, forwards, or stand still, and found that those who walked backwards "consistently remembered more about the video than others."

He explained that "walking backwards activates different parts of the brain compared to walking forwards," which helps "mobilize brain resources," including the prefrontal cortex, which is involved in planning, decision-making, and memory.

3. Reduces back pain and improves balance

Professor Janet Dufek from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, who was a guest on the podcast, said one of the main benefits of inversion walking is the "different use of major muscle groups", which can help with back pain and flexibility.

Dr. Mosley explained that the muscles in the back of the legs, the hamstrings, stretch when you walk backwards.

“Having this stretch allows for a greater range of motion and thus reduces stress on the back,” Dr. Dufek added.

She indicated that she conducted a small study on athletes and found that 80% of them were able to relieve back pain through reverse walking. The practice can help "improve stability and balance," she said.

Dr. Dufek found that older adults who walked for 15 minutes five days a week, for four weeks, were able to improve their balance.

Dr. Dufek suggested starting to try reverse walking slowly and gradually increasing the speed for a longer period of time. She recommended starting with a minute or two, then adding another minute every two days.

A popular weight-loss drug that reduces the risk of heart disease

An international team of scientists has discovered that the popular weight-loss drug semaglutide can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

The New England Journal of Medicine indicates that, according to experts, the aforementioned drug can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, including myocardial infarction and stroke, in obese people by 20 percent.

It is noteworthy that the drug semaglutide was originally prescribed for people with type 2 diabetes, but its use has recently increased in reducing the weight of adults who suffer from overweight and at least one other health problem.

Scientists discovered the effectiveness of this drug while monitoring the condition of 17,000 patients aged 45 years and over who suffer from cardiovascular disease and overweight or obesity, during the period from 2018 to 2023. Not all participants were diagnosed with diabetes. The scientists asked a group of participants to inject themselves weekly with a dose of 2.4 milligrams of semaglutide.

After an average of 40 months of follow-up, this group's risk of death from cardiovascular disease was significantly reduced compared to the other group. Specifically, the risk of nonfatal myocardial infarction or nonfatal stroke was about 6.5 percent in participants who took semaglutide, compared with 8 percent in the placebo group. Thus, semaglutide reduced the risk by 20 percent.

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