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Health Benefits of Walking Backward

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Researchers from London’s University of Roehampton suggest people who walk backward perform better on memory tests than those who stand still or walk forward. If you are looking to inject new energy into your exercise routine, you might want to try walking or running backward. Beyond the physical benefits to your body, exercising backward may boost your brain power, balance and more.

Walking Backward Shown to Boost Your Memory

In a study published in the journal Cognition,1 researchers from the University of Roehampton (UR) in London have found walking backward can boost your memory. After inviting 114 volunteers to watch a video featuring a woman having her handbag stolen, participants were asked questions about what they saw. Upon completion of the video:

  • One subset of the group was asked to walk forward 30 feet (9.1 meters)
  • A second subset was told to walk the same distance backward
  • People assigned to the control group were told to stand still

Based on their responses to 20 questions about the events in the video, the group that walked backward answered, on average, 10 percent more of the questions correctly than the control group and those who walked forward. All five variations of the experiment, including one in which the forward or backward movement was simulated, yielded similar effects.

In each scenario, the participants walking backward consistently got the most answers right. These outcomes resulted in the team of researchers, led by Aleksandar Aksentijevic, Ph.D., senior lecturer in psychology at UR, suggesting the experiment is “an indication that a link between the concepts of ‘time’ and ‘space’ are essential to the way our minds form memories.”2

“It’s a partial vindication of this idea that time is really expressed via space,” Aksentijevic told the Daily Mail.3 That said, he suggests more studies are needed to unravel the mysteries of why motion, real or imagined, has the potential to improve our memory.

“’I am sure that some of this work could be useful in helping people remember things, but how [that will be possible] is a question [needing] more research,” he noted.4

Walking Backward Shown to Improve Cognitive Control and Balance

A 2009 body of research published in the journal Psychological Science asserts walking backward benefits your brain by sharpening your thinking skills and enhancing cognitive control.5

The analysis was based on outcomes from a group of 38 Dutch university students who completed eight blocks of a Stroop task immediately after taking several steps in a forward (approach), backward (avoidance) or sideways (control) direction.

A Stroop task, by the way, requires participants to name the color of words while ignoring their semantic meaning, which the human brain processes more automatically. An example of this type of test would be presenting the word “green” in red lettering.

The researchers suggest cognitive control is required to override the tendency to respond with the meaning of the word (green) and instead respond based on its color (red). About the results, the researchers stated:6

“Cognitive control is required to override the tendency to respond to the semantic meaning and instead respond to the color. Stepping backward significantly improved performance on this task compared to stepping forward or sideways, such that response speed to words that required the inhibition of automatic response tendencies were significantly enhanced.

[B]ackward locomotion appears to be a powerful trigger to mobilize cognitive resources. Thus, whenever you encounter a difficult situation, stepping backward may boost your capability to deal with it effectively.”

A small 2011 study focused on school-aged boys who took part in a backward-walking training program for 12 weeks suggests backward walking may also help improve your balance.7

Based on balance assessments performed before, during and after the training, researchers concluded, “Backward walking training in school-aged boys can improve balance.” They also noted this form of walking “may be a potential intervention for [the] prevention of falls.”8

Other Benefits of Walking Backward

As mentioned in the featured video, backward walking, also known as retro walking, is said to have originated in ancient China, where it continues to be practiced for health and well-being. Beyond China, retro walking has caught on in Japan and parts of Europe, where people use it to build muscle, improve sports performance, promote balance and more.

For starters, when you walk backward, it puts less strain on and requires less range of motion (ROM) from your knee joints, making it ideal for people who have knee problems or injuries. Also, because backward walking eliminates the typical heel-strike to the ground, it can lead to changes in pelvis alignment that may potentially alleviate pressure associated with low back pain.9

Authors of a study involving physically active college students and student athletes noted hip extension and knee flexion are greater with backward walking, while low back ROM is also improved.10

Beyond that, walking backward gives you a chance to work out all of those muscles in your legs, such as your quadriceps and calves, which take a backseat to your hamstrings and glutes during forward walking. Furthermore, one study suggests walking backward for just 10 to 15 minutes four days a week for four weeks can increase your hamstring flexibility.11

Backward Walking Can Help You Change up Your Fitness Routine

One of the biggest challenges you face in trying to remain fit is your body’s ability to adapt to new routines. Even if you exercise regularly, you need to be on the lookout for “plateaus” that can occur when your muscles adapt to your workouts.

Performing the same type of exercise over a long period of time is likely to cause your fitness gains to level off. With respect to changing up your workout program, American Council on Exercise chief science officer Cedric Bryant, Ph.D., says:12 

“Varying your exercise routine can also help you stay physically challenged. Many of the body’s physiological systems (e.g., the muscular system) adapt to an exercise program within approximately six to eight weeks.

If you do not modify your exercise routine, you [will] reach a plateau because your body has adapted to the repetitive training stimulus.”

If you’re at a loss for a new activity to try or are not sure how to modify your existing workout, consider incorporating backward walking. Though it will take some time to adjust to going in the opposite direction, backward walking (or running) can be incredibly beneficial.

When you walk backward, your heart rate tends to rise more than it does when you are forward walking at the same pace. As such, it may be that you can achieve greater cardiovascular and calorie-burning benefits in a shorter period of time with backward exercise. There are other benefits, too.

Women Lose Body Fat More Readily When Walking Backward

A 2005 study published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine, demonstrated the female-friendly health benefits of a six-week run/walk training program. In a group of healthy university students, as compared to the control group, the women taking part in the training group:13

  • Experienced a 2.4 percent decrease in body fat
  • Realized a 19.7 percent decrease in the sum of their skinfolds
  • Evidenced an average 31 percent decrease in oxygen consumption when doing both forward and backward exercise on a treadmill
  • Significantly improved VO2 max (5.2 percent), which is the maximum rate of oxygen consumption measured during incremental exercise, in a forward 20-meter (22-yard) shuttle run test

About the outcomes, the study authors commented, “The findings suggest that backward walk/run training improves cardiorespiratory fitness for both forward and backward exercise and causes significant changes in body composition in young women.”14

Up for a Challenge? You May Want to Try Backward Running

While you may find it hard to believe anyone can comfortably run backward, you’d be surprised at how good it can feel. While the benefits you achieve with backward walking extend to backward running, you’ll achieve even greater gains from the latter.

For example, research from 2011, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, asserts backward running burns more calories given the fact it takes close to 30 percent more energy than running forward at the same pace.15

Part of the reason for the extra calorie burn, note the study authors, is the simple reality backward running reverses the typical “soft takeoff” (when muscle-tendon units shorten) and “hard landing” (when muscle-tendon units are stretched) that is the case with forward running. As such, running backward requires greater step frequency and a higher energy expenditure.

Authors of a 2001 study involving fit males who ran backward and forward under controlled conditions at eight treadmill speeds noted “metabolic rates and estimated rates of ground force application were greater for backward than for forward running.”16

You may appreciate backward running because it is well-known for putting less stress on your knees. If you routinely have knee pain when you run, try reversing the activity. Some researchers have called backward running a safer form of physical training that may actually improve your forward running skills. Authors of a 2012 study said:17

“Step frequency and energy expenditure are greater in backward running than in forward running. As in a catapult, muscle-tendon units are stretched more slowly during the brake at the beginning of stance and shorten more rapidly during the push at the end of stance.

We suggest that the catapult-like mechanism of backward running, although requiring greater energy expenditure and not providing a smoother ride, may allow a safer stretch-shorten cycle of muscle-tendon units.”

Safety Tips for Walking or Running Backward

As you may know, I was a runner for 43 years before I gave it up completely in favor of a more balanced exercise routine that is focused on more than just cardio workouts.

In 1982, at my prime, I ran a marathon in 2:50. One of the workout strategies I used back then was backward running, so I have some experience with it. That said, if you decide to try this form of exercise, I offer two safety tips:

Watch out for obstacles — As you may imagine, walking or running backward puts you at immediate risk of tripping and falling backward. You also face the possibility of running into someone coming from the opposite direction. The last thing you want to do is be twisting your head or body in ways that will cause structural problems.

For that reason, I suggest you find a safe, obstacle-free space to do this exercise. To avoid twisting an ankle, be sure to choose a location that has a flat surface. An indoor or outdoor track or paved walking path is best.

Change your shoes regularly — If you plan to walk or run backward, keep in mind that most athletic shoes are not designed to take high amounts of wear in the areas that will be making regular contact with the ground or pavement.

As you would with forward running or walking, keep an eye on your shoe wear and change or rotate your shoes on a regular basis.

Be Inspired: Woman Runs NYC Marathon Backward

No longer able to run forward after completing 10 marathons, 30-something New Jersey native Justine Galloway completed the entire 2017 New York City (NYC) marathon while running backward. As reported by Runner’s World18 and TONIC,19 this was a big deal for Galloway, who had to drop out of the Boston Marathon in 2011 around mile 18 because her body felt weak and stiff.

Later, after falling and hitting her head, Galloway noticed her left leg seemed to be having trouble taking cues from her brain. After consulting with several doctors and receiving a number of diagnoses that did not address her concerns, Galloway was told she had runner’s dystonia — a type of movement disorder known to cause uncontrollable muscle contractions during long-distance runs.

Because Galloway was not willing to take medication to manage the pain she experienced when running forward, she decided to switch to backward running. She’d been introduced to the technique by a physical therapist who evaluated her on a treadmill while running forward, backward and sideways.

Although Galloway found running forward to be nearly impossible, running sideways and backward, she noted, felt “weirdly natural.”20 She began her backward runs on sand and quickly switched to road running because the divots on the beach were difficult to navigate.

Later, she set a goal to run a half-marathon, even seeking to beat the Guinness World Record for the fastest backward half-marathon by a woman, which was then 2:49. In 2015, Galloway set a new record for backward running by a woman in a half-marathon by logging a time of 2:46.

Because running backward stressed her calves and feet more than running forward, Galloway suffered fractures in her sesamoid bones, which are located in the ball of the foot. When competing, Galloway uses a running guide to act as her eyes. Her guide helps her navigate around other runners and potholes, as well as water stations.

About the NYC Marathon, Galloway says she was happy she was able to finish the entire race without any forward-facing walking breaks. “I took a lot of stretch breaks, but finished the whole thing backwards,” she said. 21 She crossed the finish line just under 6:07.

The NYC Marathon holds special memories for Galloway, who remembers her dad running it when she was a little girl, as well as her own experience of completing the race after graduating from college. Now she is known as an inspiring backward marathon runner. “Six or seven years ago, I didn’t think I was going to run anything longer than 5 miles. Now I’m running marathons, so I’m happy,” said Galloway.22

Maybe Galloway’s testimony will encourage you to see the potential in running (or walking) backward (although I no longer recommend long-distance running) . Most certainly if you have suffered an injury that prohibits you from comfortably performing forward-facing exercise, it just might be time to reverse your routine and try walking or running backward.

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Bill Gates: Third Shot May Be Needed to Combat Coronavirus Variants

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With more than 40 million Americans having received at least the first dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, a third dose may be needed to prevent the spread of new variants of the disease, Bill Gates told CBS News Tuesday.

Gates’ comments come amid growing concern that the current vaccines are not effective against the more contagious Brazilian and South African variants.

Pfizer and Moderna have stated that their vaccines are 95% and 99% effective, respectively, against the initial strain of COVID. However, some scientists have questioned those statements. Additionally, the World Health Organization and vaccine companies have conceded that the vaccines do not prevent people from being infected with COVID or from transmitting it, but are only effective at reducing symptoms.

Gates told CBS Evening News:

“The discussion now is do we just need to get a super high coverage of the current vaccine, or do we need a third dose that’s just the same, or do we need a modified vaccine?”

U.S. vaccine companies are looking at making modifications, which Gates refers to as “tuning.”

People who have had two shots may need to get a third shot and people who have not yet been vaccinated would need the modified vaccine, explained Gates. When asked whether the coronavirus vaccine would be similar to the flu vaccine, which requires yearly boosters, Gates couldn’t rule that out. Until the virus is eradicated from all humans, Gates said, additional shots may be needed in the future.

AstraZeneca in particular has a challenge with the variant,” Gates explained. “And the other two, Johnson & Johnson and Novavax, are slightly less effective, but still effective enough that we absolutely should get them out as fast as we can while we study this idea of tuning the vaccine.”

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is funding the studies being conducted in Brazil and South Africa, CBS News said. The foundation has also invested in the AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and the Novavax vaccines, which are being tested against new variants. Once the AstraZeneca vaccine is approved, the Global Alliance for Vaccine Initiative or GAVI, founded by Gates, will distribute it globally.

“Gates continues to move the goalposts,” said Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., chairman and chief legal counsel of Children’s Health Defense. “Meanwhile the strategies he and others have promoted are obliterating the global economy, demolishing the middle class, making the rich richer and censoring vaccine safety advocates, like me.”

Kennedy said that the exclusive focus on vaccines has prevented the kind of progress required to actually address and recover from the pandemic:

“From the pandemic’s outset, clear-headed people familiar with the challenges inherent in the vaccine model have understood that the path out of crisis would require multiple steps. Those steps would need to include the development and/or identification of therapeutic drugs, the sharing of information among doctors to hone improved treatment models that reduce infection mortality rates below those for flu, and the kind of broad-spectrum long-term herd immunity that protects against mutant strains and that only derives from natural infection.”

Instead, Gates and vaccine makers are proposing a lifetime of boosters, supporting insufficient testing to determine safety and failing to address the inadequate monitoring of vaccine injuries, Kennedy said.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Children’s Health Defense.

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Young nurse suffers from hemorrhage and brain swelling after second dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine

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(Natural News) A 28-year-old healthcare worker from the Swedish American Hospital, in Beloit, Wisconsin was recently admitted to the ICU just five days after receiving a second dose of Pfizer’s experimental mRNA vaccine. The previously healthy young woman was pronounced brain dead after cerebral angiography confirmed a severe hemorrhage stroke in her brain stem.

Her family members confirmed that she was “breaking out in rashes” after the vaccine. She also suffered from sudden migraine headaches, and got “sick” after taking the second dose of the vaccine. At the very end, she lost the ability to speak and went unconscious. The migraines, nausea, and loss of speech were all symptoms of a brain bleed and brain swelling, something her family did not understand at the time, and something nobody would expect after vaccination.

While on life support, neurologists used angiography to image the damage inside the brain. They found a subarachnoid hemorrhage, whereas a bulging blood vessel burst in the brain, bleeding out in the space between the brain and the tissue covering the brain. The ensuing swelling cut off oxygen to the brain and caused brain death. On February 10, 2021, Sarah reportedly had “no brain activity.” Some of the woman’s organs are now being procured, so they can be donated to other people around the world.

Doctors warn FDA about COVID vaccines causing autoimmune attacks in the heart and brain

Experimental COVID-19 vaccines may cause inflammation along the cardiovascular system, leading to heart attack and/or stroke. This serious issue was brought forth to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by Dr. J. Patrick Whelan, M.D., Ph.D. and further confirmed by cardiothoracic surgeon, Dr. Hooman Noorchashm, M.D., Ph.D. The two doctors warned that a recently-infected patient who is subject to COVID-19 vaccination is likely to suffer from autoimmune attacks along the ACE-2 receptors present in the heart, and in the microvasculature of the brain, liver and kidney. If viral antigens are present in the tissues of recipients at the time of vaccination, the vaccine-augmented immune response will turn the immune system against those tissues, causing inflammation that can lead to blood clot formation.

This severe adverse event is likely cause of death for the elderly who are vaccinated despite recently being infected. There is no adequate screening process to ensure that this autoimmune attack doesn’t occur. The elderly are not the only people vulnerable to vaccine injury and death. Pfizer’s experimental COVID-19 vaccine could be the main cause behind the sudden death of Sarah Sickles, a 28-year-old nurse from Wisconsin. The Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System has captured five permanent disabilities in Wisconsin, 58 ER visits, and eleven deaths in just one month. This is the first case in Wisconsin of someone under 44 years of age suffering from severe COVID-19 vaccine side effects and death. There are now more than 1,170 deaths recorded in the U.S. related to the experimental mRNA vaccines, a reality that the FDA and CDC continue to ignore.

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Powering hypersonic weapons: US armed forces eyeing dangerous 5G tech

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(Natural News) Much of the conversation surrounding the benefits of 5G is geared toward the consumer side of the technology. People will be able to download videos at lightning speed and will be more connected than ever, proponents claim, although there are serious questions regarding its safety. However, some of the most important 5G applications are not civil at all – the technology will be used extensively in the military domain.

Some of its military uses are outlined in the Defense Applications of 5G Network Technology report, which was published by the Defense Science Board. This federal committee gives scientific advice to the Pentagon. Their report states: “The emergence of 5G technology, now commercially available, offers the Department of Defense the opportunity to take advantage, at minimal cost, of the benefits of this system for its own operational requirements.”

The 5G commercial network that is being built by private companies right now can be used by the American military for a much lower cost than if the network had been set up exclusively for military purposes.

Military experts expect the 5G system to play a pivotal role in using hypersonic weapons. For example, it can be used for new missiles that bear nuclear warheads and travel at speeds superior to Mach 5. These hypersonic weapons, which travel at five times the speed of sound and move a mile per second, will be flying at high altitudes on unpredictable flight paths, making them as hard to guide as they will be to intercept.

Huge quantities of data need to be gathered and transmitted in a very short period in order to maneuver these warheads on variable trajectories and allow them to change direction in milliseconds to avoid interceptor missiles.

5G for defense

This type of technology is also needed to activate defenses should we be attacked by a weapon of this type; 5G automatic systems could theoretically handle decisions that humans won’t have enough time to make on their own. Military bases and even cities will have less than a minute to react to incoming hypersonic missiles, and 5G will make it easier to process real time data on trajectories for decision-making.

There are also important uses of this technology in combat. 5G’s ability to simultaneously link millions of transceivers will undoubtedly facilitate communication among military personnel and allow them to transmit photos, maps and other vital information about operations in progress at dizzying speeds to improve situational awareness.

The military can also take advantage of the high-frequency and short-wavelength millimeter wave spectrum used by 5G. Its short range means that it is well suited for smart military bases and command posts because the signal will not propagate too far, making it less likely that enemies will be able to detect it.

When it comes to special forces and secret services, the benefits of 5G are numerous. Its speed and connectivity will allow espionage systems to reach unprecedented levels of efficiency. It will also make drones more dangerous by allowing them to identify and target people using facial recognition and other methods.

Like all technology, 5G will also make us highly vulnerable. The network itself could become an attractive target for cyber-attacks and other acts of war being carried out with cutting-edge weaponry. In fact, the 5G network is already viewed as critical infrastructure and is being carefully protected before it is even fully built.

While the focus on 5G’s dangers to human health and the environment is absolutely warranted, it is also important not to lose sight of the military implications of 5G. After all, it is not just the United States that is developing this technology for military purposes; our enemies, like China and other countries, are also making great strides in this realm.

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