There are many misconceptions regarding exercise that still exist today. Here are some of the most common exercise myths as well as the not-so-common facts based on current exercise research.
Exercise Myth 1. Low intensity workouts burn more fat
In general, low intensity exercise has its place — it’s less stressful on joints. However, one should know that fat reduction depends on the total energy cost or how many calories burned during the activity. The faster you move, the more calories you use per minute. However, high-intensity exercise may be difficult to sustain in the beginning, so you may not exercise very long at this level. In such cases, it is safer and more practical to start out at a lower intensity and to gradually work your way up.
Exercise Myth 2. Spot reduction works for tighter abs and more tone arms
All that crunching may have been done in vain. You will not see a nice muscle definition despite how many crunches you do because it lays hidden beneath all the layers of fat. Thus, when exercising, do not focus on a single body part, rather focus on the whole body as whole body exercises are more beneficial. This kind of thinking keeps a lot of people from maintaining or even starting an exercise program. Research continues to show that any exercise is better than none. For example, regular walking or gardening for as little as an hour a week has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease.
Exercise Myth 3: Stretching before exercise will help prevent injuries
There is little evidence stretching prevents injuries. Current research shows that muscle stretching after a workout will help reduce delayed onset muscle soreness in young healthy adults. In another study, it is found that static stretching (staying in one place during stretching) lasting more than a minute can be detrimental to performance. Athletes often swing their arms and warm up before a game. That type of dynamic stretching such as high knee jogs, walking lunges can help move your muscles through different ranges of motions.
Exercise Myth 4. If you exercise long and hard enough, you will always get the results you want
In reality, genetics plays an important role in how people respond to exercise. Studies have shown a wide variation in how different exercisers respond to the same training program. Your development of strength, speed and endurance may be very different from that of other people you know.
Exercise Myth 5. Exercise is the one sure way to lose all the weight you desire
As with all responses to exercise, weight gain or loss is dependent on many factors, including dietary intake and genetics. All individuals will not lose the same amount of weight on the same exercise program. It is possible to be active and overweight. Although exercise alone cannot guarantee your ideal weight, regular physical activity is one of the most important factors for successful long-term weight management.
Exercise Myth 6. If you want to lose weight, stay away from strength training because you will bulk up
Most exercise experts believe that cardiovascular exercise and strength training are both valuable for maintaining a healthy weight. Strength training helps maintain muscle mass and decrease body fat percentage.
Exercise Myth 7. Water fitness programs are primarily for older people or exercisers with injuries
Recent research has shown that water fitness programs can be highly challenging and effective for both improving fitness and losing weight. Even top athletes integrate water fitness workouts into their training programs.
Exercise Myth 8. The health and fitness benefits of mind-body exercises like Tai Chi and Yoga are questionable
Research showing the benefits of these exercises continues to grow. Tai Chi, for example, has been shown to help treat low-back pain and fibromyalgia. Improved flexibility, balance, coordination, posture, strength and stress management are just some of the potential results of mind-body exercise.
Exercise Myth 9. Overweight people are unlikely to benefit much from exercise
Studies show that obese people who participate in regular exercise programs have a lower risk of all-cause mortality than sedentary individuals, regardless of weight. Both men and women of all sizes and fitness levels can improve their health with modest increases in activity.
Exercise Myth 10. Home workouts are fine, but going to a gym is the best way to get fit
Research has shown that some people find it easier to stick to a home-based fitness program. In spite of all the hype on trendy exercise programs and facilities, the “best” program for you is the one you will participate in consistently
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