African Journal of Biomedical Research

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Comparison of Cardio-Pulmonary Responses to Forward and Backward Walking and Running

AM Adesola, OM Azeez


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

AJOL African Journals Online