Putting Your Best Foot Backward
At first glance, running backward seems about as good an idea as running with scissors. But the practice -- also known as retro-running -- is gaining adherents who claim it improves balance and peripheral vision, burns more calories than regular running, tones more body parts, and can reduce stress on joints.
Hardcore retro-runners have competed in races, and even marathons (the world record for a retro-run marathon is 3 hours, 43 minutes, set by a Chinese runner in 2004). But retro-running also has its obvious hazards. Practitioners all have stories of stepping into potholes or running into parked cars, and recommend that beginners choose quiet, open areas such as an empty track.
Not brave enough to try retro-running on your regular jogging route? Frankly, we can't blame you. Many treadmills and elliptical trainers operate in reverse mode, allowing you to try retro-running for yourself in a safe environment.