Exercise Myths

April 14, 2010 | Comments: None Yet - Post a Comment

Categories: Motivation, Science, Wellness

People are finally starting to believe that a person cannot do a thousand crunches a day and lose belly fat, and that they cannot have a great work out then reward themselves with a cookie that comprises 25% of their daily food intake and still expect to lose weight, though if you are going to eat a cookie, right after a workout is the best time metabolically speaking.  Unfortunately, there are plenty of other exercise myths still holding firm in the popular mind.  Here are five commonly held beliefs about exercise and why they are wrong.

Myth 1:   I will burn more fat if I exercise longer at a lower intensity
– This is what we used to think.  It makes intuitive sense, but it isn’t really the case.  The more calories you burn overall, the more weight you will lose.  If you bike/run/jump rope/walk faster or with more intensity, you will burn more calories.  Days with longer periods of lower intensity exercise (30 minutes at 50-60% of your maximum heart rate, go here to learn how to determine your maximum heart rate) are a great way to get active-rest between days of more intense exercise.  For more information, read last week’s article about High-Intensity Interval Training.


Myth 2:   If I’m not going to exercise hard and often, I’m wasting my time – Something is better than nothing and anything is better than sitting in front of your computer all day.  Every bit of research continues to support this. For example, the risk of heart disease was shown to be reduced by regular walking or gardening for as little as an hour a week in a 2004 study.


Myth 3:   If I exercise long and hard enough, I will always get the exact results I want – Realistically, genetics plays an important role in how people respond to exercise.  Just because you want to be a competitive body builder, doesn’t mean that you have the genetic ability to build huge muscles.  You can absolutely change the shape of your body, but even if you do the same routine as your best friend for three months, you two will probably not look the same at the end because every body responds to exercise differently. Still, you will feel and look better than if you were inactive.


Myth 4:   Home workouts are okay, but I can’t get truly fit without going to the gym –  The best exercise routine for you is the one that you will do consistently.  If you hate the gym, why would you go?  Run, play a sport, join an outdoor boot camp, swim, buy a home gym, play Dance Dance Revolution.  Discover what you enjoy and do that!


Myth 5:   I’m too overweight to benefit from exercise because I can’t do much   – Every person of any size and fitness level has the ability to improve her health with even modest increases in activity. Many studies have shown that any increase in activity, taking the stairs once per day or parking a little farther away from the front door of the office, can have a positive influence on the risk for heart disease, diabetes and metabolic disorder.  Get up!  Go play!

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