Strolling backwards lands walker in ditch

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 11 February, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 11 February, 2009, 12:00am

Walking backwards may have fitness benefits, but a 53-year-old woman found out yesterday it also carries health risks - she fell into a ditch while exercising in Tai Lam Country Park.

The morning walker, surnamed Ma, went alone up a hill opposite Chi Lok Fa Yuen in Tuen Mun after taking her grandson to school.

As she was walking backwards on a bend along the MacLehose Trail she lost her balance and fell into a 2-metre-deep ditch.

She suffered injuries to her shoulder and leg and was unable to climb out. A hiker found her and called police at 9.31am.

She was pulled out by firemen and bandaged by paramedics at the scene before being carried down the hill on a stretcher and taken to Tuen Mun Hospital.

Speaking at the hospital the grandmother said she had walked backwards two or three times before after learning it was healthy.

But she said she had learned her lesson after the fall and would never do it again.

A sports expert said walking backwards could be beneficial because it trained muscles that were rarely used.

Lobo Louie Hung-tak, associate professor of physical education at Baptist University, said: 'Walking backwards has been popular since the 1970s.

'It can increase the strength of the back and leg muscles and ease tensions in the knee ligaments.'

He said it was especially good for middle-aged people who had painful knees. But safety should be the major concern.

People should only walk backwards on ground that was flat and soft.

No high heels should be worn and, for beginners, it was better to do the exercise with a partner.

He said it was best to walk backwards three times a week for 20 minutes each time, and that the exercise should be accompanied by some jogging.