Dutch researchers have found convincing evidence that lends credence to their belief that “backward locomotion appears to be a very powerful trigger to mobilize cognitive resource”. [Source: WebMD Health News, May 8, 2009.]
According to an article in the Penn State Sports Medicine Newsletter (1994), an athlete will see his heart rate soar to 156 bpm (from 106 bpm, walking normally) when he starts walking backward at the same pace!
The Chinese and Japanese have long practiced backward locomotion (also known as walking backwards or retro-walking), well aware that 100 steps backward walking is equivalent to 1,000 steps in conventional walking.
Being able to walk backwards requires balance since our bodies are used to going in a forward motion. As we turn around, our center of gravity may be slightly thrown off; some of us may experience a little discomfort or instability when we first start walking backwards. With practice, the strangeness or awkwardness quickly wears off, and we may be tempted to walk faster or even jog, once we become accustomed to backward locomotion.