Put your best foot backward

March 21, 2012

Years ago I became bored with my workout routine, so I decided it was time to make a change. I grabbed my tennis shoes, took the second mile of my three-mile run, turned around, and walked it backward. My inspiration came from hearing about the work of the great coach Vince Lombardi, who ran his players backward as part of their training.

Years ago I became bored with my workout routine, so I decided it was time to make a change. I grabbed my tennis shoes, took the second mile of my three-mile run, turned around, and walked it backward. My inspiration came from hearing about the work of the great coach Vince Lombardi, who ran his players backward as part of their training.

Apparently, a significant percentage of folks out there are into this fad known as retro exercising. It’s every personal trainer’s horror show, and many experts say there are ample reasons why people should not participate.

However, I looked at what I perceived as the benefits and found myself addicted to what has become a frequent segment in my workout. Walking that one-mile backward is gratifying physically, emotionally and mentally, and I have learned how to do it safely. Why am I so hooked? Maybe it’s because I’m using muscles I don’t ordinarily use, or maybe it’s because I frequently see a passer-by smile. Maybe I was drawn to it because I know I always have walked to the beat of a different drum.

The surprise benefit (and the one I stumbled on accidentally) is in the mental arena. It turns out my newfound pastime inspires my creative genius. When I’m “stuck” on something, or in pursuit of a new idea, I am more motivated than ever to engage in this activity.

When I walk backward, I am putting myself in a different perspective, and the actual physical inversion inspires me to look at my challenge from a different angle. More than once, I have brainstormed ideas that, at first consideration, appeared totally backward. I found, however, that these ideas led me to my solutions. It’s happened too many times to call it coincidence.


How might we apply this perspective to a recare visit? The concept of polishing first, before scaling, is one example. For many, this might be a totally backward sequence. Out of box, and off the wall. Consider this: A doctor I once worked with is convinced hygienists can potentially convert an incipient carious Class V lesion into an area that requires a restoration by unknowingly using the ultrasonic on it for deplaquing biofilm. His contention supports the rationale for polishing first to make sure we are fully aware of what and where we are about to scale. Another benefit? Polishing first, with a therapeutic agent such as GC America’s MI Paste, can help make a sensitive patient comfortable during an ultimate recare visit.    

I’m not suggesting walking backward will become your forte. And I must admit, I typically (unless my patient is sensitive) continue to scale first, followed by my own version of selective polishing. I do recommend, however, that if you are “stuck” to consider an out of box approach. Walk either yourself, or your routine, backward and you may be pleasantly surprised at the outcome.

Eileen Morrissey, RDH, MS, is a contributing editor for Modern Hygienist. 



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