Tackling health misinformation one story at a time

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My mission is to challenge health misinformation by improving knowledge translation from research to clinicians and patients.

Health misinformation is pervasive and harmful. Roughly 36% of US adults have basic or below basic health literacy levels and up to 96% of individuals use at least 1 unaccredited…


The physical activity paradox continues to challenge healthcare providers

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Life is busy. Fitting exercise into life can feel like a game of Tetris.

When my second child was born, my workouts shifted from 45–60 minute heavy lifting (squat, deadlift, press, and row) to 10–20 minute high-intensity interval training. I am fortunate to have a home gym that eliminates travel time.

That is not a universal luxury.

Yes, exercise should be prioritized, but exercise is not the only priority. Work and family are priorities as well.

I often see articles assuring people of easy ways to squeeze in physical activity throughout the day. Go on a walk during scheduled phone…


What scientific research tells us about how to spot bullshit and how we can protect ourselves from the myriad versions of it, like ‘fake news’

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Do you consider yourself a bullshitter? If not, chances are you know one.

How can you determine if someone is bullshitting you?

How can you reduce your susceptibility to bullshitting and call someone out on it?

There is surprisingly a large amount of research on these questions. I came across this study — it’s actually three studies within one — when preparing my biweekly ‘Research Recap’ for my physical therapy practice.

As you can imagine, it garnered a lot of attention. Not just for the frequency of the word bullshit, but for the value the paper provided.

Bullshitting and lying are different

Common wisdom suggests…


There is a reason they say exercise is medicine

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Every time I step into a clinic, a patient relays their frustration with pain and inability to exercise. Most patients blame arthritis for their pain and inactivity.

“X-rays show complete bone on bone.”

“The doc says I’ll never be able to run again.”

“Squatting is bad for your knees.”

Pain is frustrating and can impede on your life. Unfortunately, most patients are flooded with fallacies about pain.

Bone on bone does not guarantee a need for surgery or even constant pain.

You can run with arthritis. It may even help.

Squatting is great for your knee. Seriously.

In most cases…


Expand your writing skills by writing for different platforms

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How do we get better at writing?

Short answer: write often

I understand there is more to it, but at the end of the day, if you want to improve in a skill you need to practice. To get better at writing you must write frequently.

There are other pieces to it, of course. You should read often, gain feedback on your writing and reflect on ways to improve it, and learn from those who do it well (courses, workshops, conversations, etc.), but if you don’t practice the skill it won’t improve.

Over the past year, I have started writing…


A short read packed with life lessons

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“Consider carefully before you say a hard word to a man, but never let a change to say a good one go by.”

Most books that provide advice write to a wide audience. Authors want their message spread, and publishers want to sell lots of copies. What if a book was intended for a single reader? Letters from a Self-Made Merchant to his Son is just that.

“When you are in the right, you can afford to keep your temper, and when you’re in the wrong you can’t afford to lose it.”

In this book, the owner and leading man…


As a bonus, you only need to complete 2 sets of four reps once a week

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There are a handful of exercises that wow people. Many are found in the world of calisthenics — planche pushups (feet off the ground), human flag, one-handed pullup. Others are incredible feats of strength — such as an 1100 pound deadlift.

The one that gets the most attention in the fitness and rehab community is the nordic hamstring curl.

From preventing injuries to improving performance


The same goes for ‘avoid these exercises’ nonsense

Photo by Joel Rivera-Camacho on Unsplash

Every day I see a plethora of articles saying something along the lines of “5 best exercises for shoulder back” or “if you do these three exercises you will ruin your back.”

They are all misinformation and negatively impacting people.

Want to know what the best exercises are for low back pain?

Any exercise.

Seriously.

Choose exercises you enjoy that is challenging

Research is clear that general exercise is beneficial for low back pain. It is the most important thing you can do for back health. Understanding pain is a close second.

Back pain is a part of life. You will experience it at some point. Perhaps…


Hi David,

Here is a story I wrote on it. It contains links to many studies on the topic. I would love your thoughts on it.

Best,


The traditional bodybuilding program isn’t always best for getting big

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According to gym lore, the sweet spot for building muscle is performing 8–12 repetitions per set. It was one of the first rules of building muscle I learned and gym-goers across the world would agree.

Where did this belief come from?

Research and experience.

Well, that seems like a solid foundation, doesn’t it? Here’s the think about research: it changes.

The traditional repetition continuum proposes the following:

A low repetition scheme with heavy loads (from 1 to 5 repetitions per set with 80% to 100% of 1-repetition maximum (1RM)) optimizes strength increases. A moderate repetition scheme with moderate loads (from…

Zachary Walston

A physical therapist tackling health misinformation | Elemental, Better Humans, The Startup, The Ascent, Mind Cafe | https://www.zacharywalston.com/subscribe

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