A lot of what we know – or think we know – about exercise comes from those common tidbits of wisdom we pick up along the way. When those tidbits turn out to be myths, they can actually do more harm than good. When it comes to exercise, there is a lot of contradictory information floating around and a lot of deeply ingrained ‘’truths’’ that are not quite so. So here are ten common exercise myths – exposed.
1. Myth: No pain, no gain
It doesn’t have to hurt. A recent study by the National Cancer Institute revealed that even low levels of exercise, like walking at a moderate pace, can provide important health benefits and add years to your life. While you may experience soreness or other issues after a particularly hard workout ,or while you are first starting out, this idea that you must work yourself to the point of feeling pain to make an exercise session worthy is one of the least true and most harmful myths.
2. Myth: You can turn fat into muscle
Exercising burns calories and helps to get rid of fat. Exercise, particularly weight and strength training, helps to build muscle. Fat is fat and muscle is muscle – you simply cannot transform fat tissue into muscle.
3. Myth: You have to work up a good sweat
Perspiration is your body’s way of cooling itself. The amount of sweat you produce has nothing to do with the effectiveness of your workout.
4. Myth: You have to stretch before exercising
A study presented at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons showed that static stretching before running doesn’t prevent injury. A 2011 study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exerciseshowed that stretching for more than a minute can even be detrimental. Performing light cardio exercises for ten minutes is a better way to go.
5. Myth: Lots of sit-ups or crunches equal a flat abdomen
Certain exercises can target specific muscle groups, but it is not possible to target fat loss. To burn fat, reduce the amount of calories in your diet and engage in cardiovascular exercise.
6. Myth: You have to exercise regularly
It’s better if you can exercise on a regular basis, but if you can’t, it’s still beneficial to exercise when you can.
7. Myth: If you don’t join a gym, don’t bother
Exercise is exercise. Your body doesn’t care if you’re exercising in a fancy gym with all the trimmings or in your basement. You don’t need a gym to walk.
8. Myth: A treadmill is easier on the knees than running on pavement
Running or jogging is a high impact activity, no matter where you do it. With some knee injuries, a stationary bike may be a better choice. If you have an injury or arthritis in your knees, ask your doctor, personal trainer, or physical therapist which exercises are best for you.
9. Myth: Yoga is good for any type of back pain
Some yoga poses are good for some types of back pain. Much depends on the pose and the specific problem with your back. If you have back problems, check with your health care provider before beginning yoga.
10. Myth: You’ll know it if you’re overdoing a new exercise program
Our bodies are constantly changing as we age. You may have been able to handle that power workout a few years ago, but if you’re just starting out again, you may not feel the strain until several hours after your workout is over. It’s best to start slowly and build up your exercise routine over time.
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