Hey lady, you should walk backwards!
Yesterday evening we decided to take a walk. As we weren't paying attention while walking, we almost had a collision-accident as we didn't really notice the woman walking -backwards- towards us. I am not quite sure why our jet-lagged brains didn't register her, but I am guessing it might have something to do with the fact that we couldn't see her face. (Normally, people walking towards you walk with their face to the front, not backwards). Our little collision couldn't help but leave me wonder why so many people in China walk backwards? I understand that it is supposed to be some sort of exercise, but I am not quite sure if I would label it as 'doable' on the busy streets of Suzhou?! Also, considering how much road work there is everywhere around here, the risks of hitting a hole/a working area since you don't really notice it when you have your back against it, are quite high! So, why do people engage in this, highly questionable exercise method? Has some doctor gone on national TV telling people it is good? Or, does walking backwards have some hidden benefits that people like me (read: ignorant laowai) fail to see?
The backwards-walking-woman that we bumped into yesterday was quite young. Otherwise I would say the majority of backwards-walkers are seniors. Except for backwards-evening-walkers on the streets of Suzhou, I have also seen plenty of backwards-walkers on the treadmills at my gym, and in parks. Every time I see them taking on an incline of 1,5 at the speed of 4 on the treadmill, I cannot help but feel a tad worried that they are going to fall and hurt themselves badly. Far from all of them look stable. But maybe it is worth the risk if backwards-walking has rewarding benefits? I read somewhere that it was good for your back, and another page stated that it helps boost metabolism (bloody h***, every little kind of movement does soon). But does it, really?