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A ton of exercise myths surround fitness. Some have always been of mythic proportions and some used to be the going “science” and now the theory has been disproved. Here’s 10 to throw out a window near you!
Exercise myth 1: Lifting weights will make you bulky
Attention females! You don’t have enough testosterone in your body to bulk up like a young Arnold Schwarzenegger. Instead strength training will increase lean muscle mass, decrease body fat and help you burn calories more efficiently.
Exercise myth 2: Exercise will help you lose weight quickly
You’ve probably heard, “you can’t exercise away a bad diet”. That’s the truth! Don’t be fooled by thinking a few weeks on the treadmill can cancel out a high sugar, high processed food diet. Exercise alone will give you many benefits, but weight loss won’t be one of them unless you combine it with clean eating.
Exercise myth 3: Ab workouts will get rid of belly fat
Ab workouts will give you a nice looking six pack, or “lady abs” as I like to call them if you’re a female. The problem is no one will ever see them if your diet doesn’t cut out the sugar and processed food that cover those abs with a layer of fat. Are you sensing a theme here??
Exercise myth 4: Strength training = weight lifting
Definitely not true! You can strength train using your own body weight, fitness bands, hand weights, kettle bells, medicine balls and even water. Anything that provides resistance to your muscles=strength training.
Exercise myth 5: Low intensity exercise burns more fat
Here’s the real facts. Low intensity exercise burns a higher ratio of fat calories to carb calories. High intensity exercise will burn more total fat and carb calories in the same amount of time. Plus your post exercise metabolic rate will stay higher. That means you will continue to burn more calories after you finish a high intensity workout. Burning more calories when I’m not working out..that’s for me!
Exercise myth 6: You can spot reduce
There are fat cells throughout your body, so stored fat is distributed equally to those fat cells. Losing weight will lower the amount of fat in those cells equally throughout your body. The best way to reduce the inches around your middle or around your hips is to take part in exercise that burns a lot of calories. Some examples are HIIT (high intensity interval training) and aerobic exercise. Also, see myths 2 and 3!
Exercise myth 7: Stretching before exercise will help prevent injury
This is one that has been disproven with ongoing research. Static stretching before exercise used to be the recommendation. Research has shown that what you need pre-exercise is a warm-up that gets your heart rate up, sending blood to the muscles you will use in your workout. A dynamic warm-up is the recommendation now. This is a warm-up where you move through exercises to increase blood flow to the muscles you will be using and increase your range of motion before you start. An example would be walking briskly and doing walking lunges before a run.
Exercise myth 8: If you don’t exercise when you are young, you shouldn’t start when you are older
Fake news! It is NEVER too late to start exercising, even if you have been sedentary all your life. Exercise has been proven to improve your quality of life no matter how old you are. If you have been sedentary for an extended period of time, you should always check with your doc before starting an exercise program. Find what is right for you and start slowly. Build your intensity as you go. If you are unsure about how to start, a personal trainer can give you some guidance.
Exercise myth 9: You should work out every day
You can work out every day, but you don’t have to. The surgeon general recommends 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week or 75 minutes of intense exercise each week. You can do cardio exercise every day. Strength training should be every other days to let the muscles recover. That’s what helps you increase your lean muscle mass. If you do work out every day and notice that you are overly fatigued, sore, or seem to be suffering frequent injuries, you could be overtraining and need a rest.
Exercise myth 10: You need to be in a class or at the gym to get a good workout
Not so, exercise myth buster. There is a growing trend in the exercise industry for small group fitness, home gyms, one-on-one instruction and fitness live-streaming services so you can get fit from the comfort of your own home. What will be the best for you is what motivates you the most. That might be a traditional fitness class or it might be something completely different.