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"Retro Running" Will Be Your New Favorite Way To Run

Your cardio routine just got an exhilarating update.

If you haven't attempted or heard of "retro running" yet, we're here to clue you in on the hottest running trend of the year. Listen up, because you're about to have a totally new and exhilarating cardio workout—and it's a really great way to get up and out of the house any time of year. (In the winter, stick to mild and non-icy days, of course!)

Retro running has been around for quite some time, but it's making a serious comeback for good reason. You're about to embark on an exercise that's refreshing and so much fun, while starting a much-needed buzz of excitement in your neighborhood. Hey, after reading this, you may even feel inclined to start a local retro running group that'll get everyone outdoors and socializing. Read on to learn more, and next up, check out The 6 Best Exercises for Strong and Toned Arms in 2022, Trainer Says.

Here's how this trending exercise works

woman bundled up in winter workout attire backwards runs in woods
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This is how it works. When retro running, you will be running backwards, or basically in reverse. Sure, it may look and feel a little bit strange at first, but gear up, because you just found your new favorite way to run.

Runners and fitness fanatics alike are hopping on the retro running bandwagon. As a matter of fact, people have been searching for "reverse running" online a whole lot recently—searches for this exercise have gone up by a whopping 50%, to be precise, according to a data analysis conducted by PureGym in the UK. TikTok videos of #backwardsrunning have even been watched over 100,000 times due to the fitness trend's newfound popularity, and we are so here for it.

Plus, did you know there's an annual world championship for this type of exercise? Evening Standard reports the dates of the next championship have not been decided yet, but that doesn't mean you can't get your retro running on ASAP.

Related: "Plogging" Will Be Your New Favorite Exercise To Do Outdoors

It has major health benefits

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The University of Oregon performed more than 25 years of research comparing running the traditional way to running backwards. They observed how the lower extremities work and the potential of injury by running both ways, and the results are truly astounding. First off, they reported that runners seem to feel they've done a comparable workout when running backwards at approximately an 80% effort of the same run forward.

Although it will undoubtedly look odd by every passerby you meet, the benefits of running backwards are noticeably observed in the research, including a better, more erect posture while running. The range of motion at the knee point is greater in both functionality and activity. Researchers also observed a full extension ability for both knee and hip flexion. Pretty positive results, right?

Tim Liu, CSCS, Precision Nutrition Certified Coach also tells us, "[Reverse running] can be a good way to improve your cardio, get in steps, and also build coordination. We're so used to moving forward, that we lose the ability to travel in other directions with our bodies. Running backwards can also improve your motor patterns if you play a sport of any kind that involves movement through different planes."

Related: The Best Cities in America for Runners, According to New Data

If you need more convincing…

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If you need additional convincing that this form of exercise is a must-try on your fitness to-do list, "Backwards Running" by Robert K Stevenson is an excellent read that discusses how and why many pro athletes and sports professionals run backwards regularly, in addition to the how-to and why-you-should info when it comes to including running backwards into your own routine. The foreword reads, "Backwards running is a fantastic way to train your body and is outstanding for physical conditioning. It develops your cardiovascular system and strengthens muscles throughout your entire body."

We don't know about you, but we're getting our sneakers and athletic gear on and heading outside right now. (Backwards, of course!)

For more…

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For more running scoop, check out One Running Trick That Makes Running So Much Easier, Says Science and The Best Tips for Running for Weight Loss next.

Alexa Mellardo
Alexa is the Mind + Body Deputy Editor of Eat This, Not That!, overseeing the M+B channel and delivering compelling fitness, wellness, and self-care topics to readers. Read more
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