I’m sure you’ve gone to the gym and have someone try to give you unsolicited advice. “Man, you’ve got to lift every day if you wanna see results.” Too often, these beliefs just aren’t true. I’ve taken 5 of the biggest exercise myths and decided to bust them so that you won’t fall prey to these falsehoods.
- Low-Intensity Exercise Burns More Fat – This myth is that if you exercise too intensely, you’ll burn carbohydrates instead of fat. You have to look at the bigger picture for the truth. The focus is not the proportion of carbs you burn, but the total amount of calories burned. The faster you walk, step or run, for example, the more calories you’ll use. When your body has burned up all the carbs, then it will start burning fat. Pay attention to how many calories you burn, that’ll determine how much body fat you’re going to lose.
- Exercise Is Worthless If I Don’t Have Lots of Time – This is the myth that keeps people from continuing or even starting an exercise program. People feel that if they don’t have hours every day that they should even try. Research continues to show that any exercise is better than none. Regular, repeated exercise has great health benefit, but if you don’t have time for a workout, there’s no reason not to go for a walk. Even a half-hour walk can make a big difference. Walk on your lunch break instead of checking your email. Any activity is good activity.
- If I Exercise, I’ll Lose Weight Quickly – Weight loss is not simply “calories in less than calories burned therefore weight lost.” This is an oversimplification; weight loss can be impacted by many factors, including diet and genetics. Everyone will not lose the same amount of weight form the same exercise program. Real-weight loss comes from the eventual of intensity and duration of exercise once you get started with your exercise program. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) busted this particular myth. As you exercise, you’ll start walking faster, or maybe running, or perhaps you’ll walk longer and spend more time walking. If you walk or run five miles instead of one, you’ll burn 500 calories, and while it’ll take longer, the weight loss benefits scale better over time than sitting at home, so as you train, you’ll lose more weight.
- Women Shouldn’t Weight Training Because It Will Bulk You Up – Some women believe that adding muscle mass leads to weight gain, not loss. Exercising can lead to an increase in muscle, but it is unlikely this would happen to someone dieting to lose weight. When people lose weight, they lose both fat and muscle. Exercise will help maintain muscle and promote fat loss. By reducing the loss of muscle, exercise can help to maintain metabolic rate after weight loss and prevent weight regain. Women generally have too much estrogen to build bulky muscle. Guys build muscles faster because they have more testosterone. The government’s 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommended muscle-strengthening physical activity on at least three days of the week for kids and two or more for adults.
- Stretching Prevents Injury – Ok, this myth is pretty contentious. There are staunch supports on both sides, but there are a growing number of studies that challenge the idea that stretching prevents injury. A review published in 2007 of 10 randomized studies about stretching after or before physical activity found that “muscle stretching does not reduce delayed-onset muscle soreness in young healthy adults.” A study presented at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons found that static stretching (when you stay in place, bend over to touch your toes, or try to pull your ankles towards your hips) before a run neither prevents nor causes injury. A study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found that static stretches that last longer than a minute could be damaging to performance.We do confuse “stretching” with “warming up.” Warming up is very important before strenuous exercise to prevent injury. Warm up properly before a workout, but leave stretching for long hours at your desk.
Want more myths busted? Check out the video below from Fitness Blender on the myth that you can “spot train” your abs.