9 Fitness Myths Busted


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It is a true fact of life that if you want to be optimally healthy, happy, and fit then you must exercise in form or another.  Even though most Americans know this nowhere near as many exercise like they should. Among those who do exercise, many fall far short of their potential.

Perhaps one of the main reasons for this is the overly general advice itself:  “get regular exercise.” Well, that’s like saying “eat healthy.” What exactly does that mean?

If you have been following conventional excise routines and recommendations you should know that most of this advice is outdated. Yes, there is a huge amount of advice out there on the internet, videos, books, exercise manuals, but how can you tell if it’s current or up to date?

Perhaps then, the first thing you should look at and take into consideration is the myths and outdated information that is out there. This way when you come across this kind of advice on a webpage or in a book , you will know that it’s dated material and you can move on to something else.

This is a list of the top 9 myths that many of us were told (in some cases still are being told as this misinformation keeps getting repeated).


1. The more you sweat the better the workout

Almost any exercise worth its weight will cause you to sweat. But how much you sweat really isn’t a good indication of how many calories you have burned. Remember, sweating is simply the body’s way of cooling itself down. Sitting on a chair in the hot sun will cause you to sweat a great deal but that doesn’t mean you are getting a lick of exercise!


2. Sleeping too much will make you gain weight

How many of us were told that we need to pop out of bed as if we were toast and get to the gym right away because sleeping too much causes those calories to just “sit around”?  Nothing could be further from the truth. When you are sleep deprived, the hormone that signals your body that you have had enough to eat, leptin, decreases, while the hormone that signals hunger, ghrelin, increases. Not only that but not getting enough sleep tends to leave to cravings of sweet and starchy foods. Read more why you aren’t losing weight and what to do with it.

So get your rest, and then head off to the gym.


3. Yoga is great for burning calories

Although yoga is great for the body, it’s not the best at burning calories. One study found that a 50 minute power yoga class burned only 237 calories on average. While a 50 minute spinning class burned as much as 600 calories, according to the American Council on Exercise. There are many fantastic benefits to yoga such as flexibility, pain relief, mental health, stabilizing hormone levels, and relieving sleep problems, but burning lots of calories isn’t one of them.


4. Women will “hulk up” lifting weights

Women want to be strong and toned but there aren’t too many of them that want to look like the Hulk, so they tend to avoid weights. However, you really don’t have anything to worry about. Strength training has a multitude of benefits from fat loss to keeping bone mass so you don’t get osteoporosis and broken hips later in life. Biologically, women have less muscle tissue and less testosterone than men, so bulking up like Mr. Schwarzenegger is impossible.  Round out your exercise routine by using either one day for strength training or add one set of weight lifting to your daily routine and you will really see a true difference in your body.


Photo credit: bigstock

5. Crunches are the best way to get those six pack abs

Although crunches will tone your abs, it’s true, but to get those truly flat abs you need to burn off fat. So more important than crunches will be those fat burning exercises. Research has shown that simply doing crunches alone, even if they are done five days a week, they had no effect on those deep core fat stores. To get that 6 pack you need to do high intensity interval training. Also, doing planks and bridges will burn fat as well as work those abs, much more effectively than doing endless crunches. Find out other exercise you don’t have to do any more.


6. Running ruins your knees

Well, this is another long standing myth. Running will not ruin your knees. In fact, long term studies show that osteoarthritis of the knee is not more common in adults who run compared to those who don’t run. Now, there is some truth that women are more likely to suffer a knee injury when running because they have a natural imbalance in the strength between the quadriceps and their hamstrings. So, for women especially, strength training is very important if you love to run.

For those who love to run, the key is moderation. Don’t run more than 20 miles per week and spread it out over three or four days, and no more than 5 miles an hour. Actually, this is great advice because if you run longer or faster than these recommendations, you lose a lot of the benefits of running anyway. Read also


7. Stretching is essential for fast recovery

Stretching actually has very little to do with the muscle fatigue after a workout. Although stretching after your workout will help with flexibility, it’s not necessary for recovery. Cooling down after a workout is really nothing more than a personal choice.


8.  You need to exercise a minimum of 45 minutes at a time

For many, many years the gold standard of aerobic exercise has been to work out at a moderate pace for at least 45 minutes at time. Recent research, however, has proven that there is a better way.

Rather than do the slow, time consuming work out, it’s been shown that a high intensity interval training is far more efficient, as well as being more economical time-wise.

Although there are many versions of HIIT, the basic idea is that you do some high intensity, maximum exertion for short periods, followed by a quick “recovery” period. For example, you can walk at a moderate pace for 5 minutes, then run as fast as you can, ( or do burpees or jumping squats) for 30 seconds, then continue walking for 60 seconds, followed by another 30 seconds of running or burpees. Follow this routine for 5 or 6 sets and you are done!


SEE ALSO: Breaking Exercise Myths Infographic

  9. The more time you dedicate to exercise the better

Although many people really should dedicate more of their time to exercising ( sorry, folks, that 10 minute walk you do at lunchtime 5 days a week just doesn’t cut it) but for those who really do exercise regularly, you need to take time to recover.

Exercise feels good but when you over do it, you can actually do your body more harm than good. Allowing your body to rest at least one day per week is absolutely essential to your long term success. Your body needs time to rebuild and restore itself. No matter what type of exercise you do, always listen to your body and give it time to rest.