Comparison of Cardio-Pulmonary Responses to Forward and Backward Walking and Running
Backward running has long been used in sports conditioning programs and has recently been incorporated into rehabilitative setting as a method of increasing quadriceps strength while decreasing the joint compressive forces about the knee. Although backward locomotion has been studied kinetically, the metabolic cost of backward walking or and/or running has not to my knowledge been previously characterized. O2 consumption and other cardiopulmonary variables were measured under constant speed exercise during backward and forward walking at 107. 2m min-1 and during backward and forward running at 160.8m min-1 peak O2 consumption (VO2 peak) was also measured during maximal incremental backward and forward running VO2, HR and blood lactate were significantly higher P< 0.001) during backward walking and running than during forward walking and running. During backward walking, and backward running, subjects exercised at 60% and 84% of their forward VO2 peak, respectively. In conclusion, for a given speed, backward locomotion elicits a greater metabolic demand and cardiopulmonary response than forward locomotion. In general, these data suggest that while undergoing rehabilitation an injured athlete may continue to exercise using backward walking/running at an intensity sufficient enough to maintain cardiovascular fitness levels.
Keywords: Exercise, cardiovascular, pulmonary, backward walking, running