Backwards lrWelcome to our healthy lifestyle challenge lead by our program dietitian Vicki Bovee and her husband, Bill. Because we can always do better to live a healthier lifestyle Vicki and Bill decided to work on a weekly challenge together to provide support and accountability for each other and hopefully inspire you to make healthy changes. Follow along with them as they tackle a variety of challenges to eat better, eat more mindfully, and improve physical health and emotional well-being. Vicki and Bill invite you to participate and accept the challenges to improve your lifestyle too. Some of them may be difficult and please feel free to modify the challenges to accommodate your dietary needs and physical abilities.

Challenge # 26 Retro-Walking

Way back in week 3 we walked sideways in our hallway. We both saw positive results from this and at the end of the week Bill had walked one mile sideways. In last week’s challenge we picked our top 5 challenges to work on at our 6 month midpoint and we both had the sideways challenge on our list.

If walking sideways uses muscles in a different way, wouldn’t walking backwards accomplish this too? And so this week we went up and down our hall backwards. I didn’t need to hang up reminder signs like I did of for the sideways challenge. I just said, “Backwards!” when I approached the hallway to program myself. Our grandsons spent the weekend with us and they got into this challenge too.

I checked in again with Amanda La Torre, Fitness Director at Saint Mary’s Center for Health and Fitness. She said walking backwards, or retro-walking, was a great way to work our gluts, hamstrings, core, and balance. Our muscles are strengthened when we do an unfamiliar exercise. Then she gave us a more difficult challenge, walk backwards with our eyes closed. Whoa! She said 80% of our balance is visual and closing your eyes takes you to a different world. Boy was she right! We couldn’t see when we reached the end of the hall so Bill counted the steps. I gently used my hand for a guide on the wall. I will admit I did bang into the wall more than once.

I don’t know if I will walk outside backwards, but we did give it a try on the track in the gym. That is a lot longer than our hallway and I could feel the different muscles working when I did the longer distance. We both enjoyed this challenge in the gym. We did tag team, one lap each, while one of us went backwards and the other watched for traffic so we didn’t run into someone. The 30 minutes of track lapping went by quickly because it was something new and it was fun. We found we could jog backwards without a problem so we got our heart rates up higher than usual.

Vicki’s Observations:
• It didn’t take any extra time to go down the hall and it felt good to work on different muscle groups. Closing my eyes did take more time and it certainly was more difficult.
• I had to check for Bill before I backed up so we didn’t run in to each other.
• Since going backwards around the track at the gym is a bit is a bit slower than frontal, when Bill was going backward and I was on traffic watch I did my sideways walking (challenge #3) or walked on my tip toes.

Bill’s Observations:
• I liked both walking backwards and sideways down the hall. It makes it fun and interesting and I know I am working muscles I normally don’t use on a daily basis.
• I took the new exercise to the gym and found out I can do it for longer walks.
• It really helped to have a partner and our gym experiment was fun.

Walking backwards or sideways down your hall or around your house are functional exercises that most everyone can do. They require no special equipment, there is no expense, you don’t have to leave the house, weather is not a factor, and they don’t require scheduling in your planner. (No more excuses.) What you get is the benefit of working muscle groups in a different way, strengthening your core, and improving your balance and coordination.
Next week we (meaning me) are back in the kitchen for a food challenge. I enjoy the food challenges because we eat smart and I feel great when I eat clean. They also require more planning, shopping, and preparation but it is worth it. I also try a bunch of new recipes and some of them turn out to be keepers and become The Recipe of the Month in our WBI newsletter. Food challenges also mean we keep a food record to track our goals and that is always a good thing.
Eat Smarter…
Vicki Bovee, MS, RDN, LD

Want to catch up on what you’ve missed?
The road to success is always under construction.
Challenge #1 Eat everything sitting down.
Challenge #2 Eliminate cheese as an ingredient.
Challenge #3 Walk sideways in your home.
Challenge #4 Include a fresh herb in your daily meal plan.
Challenge #5 If there is food in your mouth there should be nothing in your hand.
Challenge #6 Eat the MyPlate recommendations for fruits and vegetables.
Challenge #7  Stand (and walk if possible) while talking on the phone.
Challenge # 8 Don’t eat out of the package. Put your food on a plate or in a bowl.
Challenge # 9 Keep a food record.
Challenge # 10 Power down while eating.
Challenge # 11 Eating to reduce inflammation.
Challenge # 12 Eating to help our environment.
Challenge # 13 Switch it up.
Challenge # 14 The road to success is still under construction.
Challenge # 15 Little bites.
Challenge # 16 Drink your water.
Challenge # 17 Count your chews.
Challenge # 18 The 100 Bite Diet.
Challenge # 19 Start your day right.
Challenge # 20 Holiday moves.
Challenge # 21 Limit TV time.
Challenge # 22 The Paleo Diet: Eat Like a Caveman.
Challenge # 23 Sweet dreams.
Challenge # 24 What color is your plate?
Challenge # 25 Six month reflections


Vicki Bovee is the Registered Dietitian for Western Bariatric Institute and leads the non-surgical weight loss program, "Health and Lifestyle Program."
Vicki Bovee is the Registered Dietitian for Western Bariatric Institute and leads the non-surgical weight loss program, “Health and Lifestyle Program.”