Exploring Common Exercise Myths

Oct 22, 2013

There's a lot of fitness myths out there.  While some of the less believable myths fade quickly, others stick around and keep spreading!  Sometimes it's difficult to separate fact from fiction, so we're here to help! Here are 10 common exercise myths debunked:

1. The Longer Your Workout, the More Fat You Will Burn.

The most important focus in exercise and fat weight control is not the percentage of exercise energy coming from fat but the total energy cost, or how many calories are burned during the activity. The faster you walk, step or run, for example, the more calories you will burn. However, high-intensity exercise might be difficult for a beginner, and will likely be more difficult to sustain for a long period of time.  It is safer, and more practical, to start out at a lower intensity and work your way up gradually.

2. If You’re Not Going to Work Out Hard and Often, Exercise Is a Waste of Time.

 I think it goes without saying that this isn't the best way to look at exercise.  Any exercise is better that none.  Studies prove this to be a fact! For example, regular walking or gardening for as little as an hour a week has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease.

3. Yoga Is a Completely Gentle and Safe Exercise.

Maybe we'll call this one a 'half-truth'.  Yoga is a great form of exercise, and some styles are very gentle.  However, there are also some very rigorous and demanding styles of yoga that can really challenge you physically and mentally.

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.

5. Exercise Alone Will Allow You to Lose All the Weight You Want.

As with all responses to exercise, weight gain or loss is impacted by 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. Another factor in this myth is the obsession with numbers.  Just because you don't immediately lose a lot of weight doesn't mean you're not significantly improving your health!

6. Strength Training Will Cause You to Gain Weight as Opposed to Losing Weight.

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.

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.

8. The Health and Fitness Benefits of Mind-Body Exercise Like Tai Chi and Yoga Are Questionable.

In fact, 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 such as yoga.

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.

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.

Original article can be found at IDEA.

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