The Single Best Exercise You’ve Probably Never Tried…but need to in 2020!

Fitness, Health & Wellness


Walking backwards also known as Retro-walking is one of the simplest and healthiest exercises you’ve probably never tried!  Below are 5 good reasons to incorporate this exercise into your daily routine.  


  1. Improves muscle strength: Walking backwards increases muscle strength of your thighs (quadriceps) and calves as well reducing wear-and-tear on knee ligaments (anterior cruciate).
  2. Increases balance and coordination. Walking backwards not only improves balance in otherwise healthy adults (see but also speeds up rehabilitation after a stroke (see
  3. Reduces Body Fat: Walking backwards requires more energy in a shorter period of time than walking forward. As a result, ~30% more calories are burned and body fat is reduced (see
  4. Reduces Back Pain: When you walk backwards your posture improves because greater concentration is required compared to conventional walking.  This produces a taller stature and lengthening of the hip flexor muscles which in turn ease low back pain that is often accompanied by poor posture and tightness of the hip flexors.
  5. Improves Brain Function: Walking backwards has been shown to improve various brain functions including attention span, memory and processing speed as assessed by the Stroop Test (see
  6. I tell my patients to find the longest room in their home and to start by simply walking forward and backward for 5 minutes on day 1 and progress to 10-15 minutes daily. Other places to safely walk backwards on a flat surface include a nearby school playground or track. Doing this exercise at least 4 days a week on a regular basis will reap important health dividends for your heart, body and mind.  So start 2020 on more than just the “right foot”…move both feet backwards!
  7. Michael Miller, MD is Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland  and author of Heal Your Heart: The Positive Emotions Prescription to Prevent & Reverse Heart Disease” published by Penguin Random House.