Photo by cdd20 on Unsplash

Originally Published: June 21, 2022

Moving forward in your life, sometimes requires you to literally walk backwards.

Walking backwards may actually improve the way your brain functions.

According to Harvard Medical School “A study published in the January 2019 issue of Cognition found that people who actually walked backward, imagined they were walking backward, or even watched a video simulating backward motion, had better recall of past events than those who walked forward, or sat still.”


One theory from Harvard based psychologists is that “it is possible that people associate going backward with the past and this somehow triggers a memory response.”

Another theory is that “Walking backwards sharpens the senses and improves your thinking skills.
When you walk backwards, you have to pay closer attention to what you are doing, which flexes your muscles in a different way, improves body consciousness, improves your vision and creates new neural pathways in your brain.”

Psychologists have a developed a method called “cognitive interviewing” that helps people recall details of a recent event by metaphorically walking a person through an event forward and then backward. So it’s possible that literally walking backward may mimic something similar in the brain.

In a Psychology Today article, the author indicated “we often picture ourselves traveling along a timeline, (a linear path,) with the future extending in front of us and the past stretching out behind us. We look “forward” to the future and “back” to the past. You need to think “backwards” along your own timeline. “Thinking backwards” is called the “Mnemonic Time Travel Effect” and helps to improve your memory and functions within your brain.

However, did you know your journey through life on your own soul path is actually on an upward spiral shaped path and not a liner path? It is similar to a path followed by walking up on a spiral staircase.  

As you follow your spiral soul path upwards, you often re-visit or “walk backwards” to a same or similar situation.  However, you actually do so from a higher vantage point from which you can observe your life challenges with a greater clarity, even after “walking backwards.”  I recently wrote a blog post and did a podcast entitled “Evolutions and Not Revolutions” on this topic.

It is the physical motion of walking backwards that causes these positive changes in your brain.

Walking backwards on a regular basis can also physically improve your range of motion and reduce the possibility of injuries.

To start off the new year in 2022, I interviewed fitness expert and celebrity trainer, Mr. David Mariani of Basketball.Biology.

I also interviewed David on January 1, 2023 on iHeart Radio about Walking Backwards.

David is a strength and conditioning coach and celebrity trainer. According to David, the most important thing you can do for yourself is to walk backwards on a regular basis.

Walking backwards is well known for reducing the strain on your knees. Walking backwards is one of the few natural ways to strengthen the quadriceps. It is also useful if you are recovering from hamstring strain because of reduced range of motion in your hips.

You can also run backwards.

Podcast: Walking Backwards to Move Forward in Your Life

So how can you use the technique of physically walking backwards to move forward in your life?

  1. When you are facing challenges in your life, begin by physically walking backwards and consciously thinking about all of the factors associated with your challenge.  Where are the factors of your challenges anchored in time?
  2. Tune into and be aware of what is going on physically in your body and simultaneously in your conscious thoughts.  What memories, feelings, emotions, etc. are being triggered? What feels different physically when you walk backwards?
  3. What insights are you receiving as you are walking backwards?  Acknowledge and record your insights as they occur.  How are these insights now allowing you to find and follow an appropriate path to consciously move forward in your life away from your challenges?

Walking backwards when you are facing challenges in your life not only allows you to improve the way your brain functions and move forward, but also allows you to physically reduce the risk of injuries and create a positive impact in your life.

I am walking backwards on a regular basis to improve my brain.  How about you?

Out There on the Edge of Everything®…

Stephen Lesavich, PhD

Copyright ©2022, by Stephen Lesavich, PhD.  All rights reserved.

Certified solution-focused life coach and experienced business coach.