We all know that walking is good for us. But what about walking backwards? The Chinese began doing this thousands of years ago and continue doing it today as they believe it postpones Alzheimer's and keeps their brains youthful. It is common to see old people walking backwards in a park and even at the edge of a crowded street.
The Chinese character for person is 人 which never made sense until seeing the character with a head and feet added, which makes it look like a person.
Today, walking backwards has gained popularity throughout the world. It is regarded as the new way to enhance your workout. Why? Because it uses different muscles, is easier on the knees, and burns more calories. "Your balance increases. Your hearing increases. Your peripheral vision increases," said Badyna (pronounced Ba-Deena).*** [from USA Today, see below]
You can do it on a treadmill, up or down stairs or to avoid the paparazzi like Taylor Swift did on a hike. Tour guides are proficient at it. But in China, usually only old people do it.
Curious, I tried it myself. The chest opens and the body lifts towards the sky, whereas usually we walk leaning forward. You can see this contrast in the picture to the left. The woman is walking backwards whereas the man is jogging forwards. It isn't boring like normal walking, and while it takes vigilance, it is surprisingly more relaxing than walking forwards.
I loved it, but what would teenagers think of it? So, I assigned it as homework. Admittedly, not all liked it and some complained of feeling dizzy or running into others. But most did and here are some of their comments:
It's really amazing! Even the special way of walking, walking backwards, is created by Chinese people. I haven't tried it before one week ago. At the first, [when] I heard about this homework, I could not believe my ear[s]. I could not walk that special way, because I thought it was strange. Finally I made a decision to try it. After walking backward[s] for two days, I found some differences. And after one week, I feel quite different now. You can hard[ly] describe that special feeling, just like your body is lighter than a bird. I am very happy and powerful now. I think it's one of the best way[s] to change your mind and make your body stronger. - Tim, 10D
I was confused after I heard this assignment. And I thought it was silly to do that. Then my desk-mate Yvonne asked me to go with her and I thought I had no choice, so I went with her. Actually I felt a little bit funny when I walked backward[s]. Because of Yvonne's expression on her face, we laughed a lot. I kind of like it. Also, after having nine classes one day, it's quite relaxing. - Estelle, 10D
I have walked back[wards] for one week! For [the] first day, I felt I was stupid! It made me not be so good. But during these days, I think I have more energy. It is quite a good thing! And I didn’t care [about] others anymore. I love this way to exercise! - Bernadette, 10D
I as well didn't know why the old men in China like walking backward[s]. After one week of walking, I felt something unusual of the campaign. Firstly, it was not easy to go backward[s] because you had to look back from time to time to make sure you won't knock into somebody and fall down. But I thought it is also made me feel more comfortable and relaxed. - Niki, 10D
I walked backwards twice around the track for 7 days, then write this. I have some impressions. When I first walked backwards around the track, I lost my bearings. I felt behind is instant fear. It made me be afraid, but bit by bit, I became accustomed. I began to believe in myself, my step strengthened, I became not afraid. From this way, I learned a lot. It was like a haunted house, if you don't explore it, you will not know the fun. - Kristy, 10D
These days I tried to walk backwards. Let me tell you something about it. At first, I was very nervous. I [was] afraid that I will fall down. But after ten days practice, I was never nervous. And I felt very good. I fell in love with it. I think I will do it in the future, and I think this activity is very meaningful! I like it very much! - Ivan, 10D
I walked backwards twice around for seven days. At first, I felt it was a little boring. I think it was just walking. But three days later, I found something interesting. For example, I think walking backwards is just like using the different ways to see the world. Everything seems like back to yesterday. And also we can do some exercise. After seven days walking backwards, I felt great! - Ivy, 10D
I have walked back[wards] for a week! I feel so interesting and funny! I have read a[n] article in a book, it said that walking back[wards] is good for our health, so I did something good for my health this week! I like it so much! - William, 10D
These days I walked backward[s] twice around on the playground. That's interesting! I can't see what['s] behind, but I can feel it! I felt relaxed and excited when I finished the work. I think it's good for our health and it can give me a good rest. It can give us an advantage in our studies. - Andy, l0D
I walked backward[s] for seven days. I have many feelings now. At first, I felt a little scared. I couldn't know if I'm safe. I didn't know what [was] behind me. I was scared that I [would] collide [with] others. Or I stumbled over a stone. But on the second and third day, I found that I fell in love with this sport. Even though I felt very tired after I did this, I still felt very happy, because it can give me a good environment to relax myself. I like listening to music when I'm walking backward[s]. I can think things when we do this. Walking backwards is both good for our health and our study.-Vicky, 10D