In today’s world, it seems like there are more questions and half-truths in the market about healthy exercise than there are actually clear, definitive facts.
It all results from a ton of misinformation about health and exercise. And while everyone’s body is different, there are some commonly believed myths that science has disproved.
So in this post, I’m going to take the seven most commonly believed myths that you likely still believe about exercise and explain the truth behind them. Believe it or not, a lot of what you’ve heard about working out is actually either completely unfounded or just flat out wrong. And if you’re going to put the effort into actually going into the gym and working out, you better make sure it’s paying off.
If you are not sweating you’re not working hard enough
While it’s true that sweating profusely will reduce your weight, the pound or two that you lose will actually just be water weight and will replenish itself quickly after you re-hydrate.
Sweat is not necessarily evidence of an incredible workout. What it is evidence of is your body is overheating. I mean let’s face it, sunbathing doesn’t exactly make the list of intense workouts.
Perspiring is just your body’s way of cooling itself. You can avoid sweat and still burn plenty of calories by taking long walks or doing some lightweight training.
You lose more weight at the gym than at home. There are arguments for both sides of this. One saying it’s better to work out at the gym. The other saying it’s better to work out at home. But the truth of the matter is, you lose weight simply by burning off more calories than you take in regardless of your regimen.
Now, the types of exercise that you do will define how you tone and shape your body as you work out different areas. And, if you don’t have a lot of options at home, you might want to make it to the gym as it’s a more viable solution. However as long as you’re pushing yourself, location doesn’t matter at all.
Working out will build muscle not lose weight
While it’s true that repetitive exercise will hone in and increase muscle mass and strength, the idea that this will prevent you from losing weight is actually not true.
This myth comes from the theory that muscle weighs more than fat and therefore compensates for the weight you’re losing by replacing it.
But the truth is that when we lose weight, we actually lose both fat and muscle and it’s through working muscles that we maintain them. In fact, it’s more accurate to say that by exercising, you’re losing fat and sustaining muscle mass.
If you didn’t exercise when you are young it’s dangerous to start when you’re older
Okay, this idea is just preposterous and is likely the work of a cautious son or daughter who’s simply worried about their elderly parent who may or may not be pushing themselves a little too hard. Whether you’re 8 or 108, training in your lifestyle for a healthier one is never a bad idea. It is never too late to start exercising regularly so long as you pay attention to your body’s limits.
In fact, a study in 2009 showed that seniors who exercised or even started to exercise later in life lived longer than those who did not change their lifestyle at all.
Swimming is great for weight loss
Swimming is a fantastic way to exercise for toning certain muscles, reducing stress, increasing lung capacity and of course, cooling down. But, when it comes to being a fast way to remove those extra pounds, the pool might not be your best choice.
See, our bodies are buoyant when swimming and thus the workout that we’re receiving is being aided by our natural ability to float. Spending that same time jogging or climbing will give you a much more rounded workout.
Stretching first will prevent injury
Many a student has heard this from their gym teacher or coach. And it’s likely a myth that they’ve carried with them throughout their lives.
Now, while stretching does have it’s benefits, actually preventing injury is not one of them. Stretching has actually been shown to be more beneficial before doing something for a long amount of time, such as sitting at a computer or driving than it is before doing an exertive workout.
No pain, no gain
The idea that you have to cause physical pain to your body to have exercised enough to make a difference to your health is absolutely absurd. It is fine to push yourself, especially if you want to increase endurance, but there is a difference between the pain and discomfort of hurting yourself and the burn of a good workout.
If you’re in genuine pain, that’s a sign that you’re doing something wrong. You need to listen to your body before you hurt yourself. In other words, check yourself before you wreck yourself.
Fasting before a workout
Some people swear by working out first thing in the morning one reason people head to the gym before their first meal is because they believe it helps their metabolism work at a faster rate for the rest of the day.
The truth is that your body’s metabolism rate from before you exercise will return, you do burn about 10 to 25 extra calories from fasting in the morning but that’s not much. Others say that when you fast before the gym you burn the calories and fat you already had instead of burning the calories from your recent meal. This statement isn’t true either eating before or after burns the same amount of fat.
Perhaps you’ve been told that moving around a lot eliminates a lot of calories and that you don’t necessarily need a lot of exercises. Not true while continually moving will benefit your circulatory system and overall health a walk around the block doesn’t burn that many calories.
However, to lose fat you need to run at least 5 miles or 8 meters per hour for 30 minutes even that is only enough to burn the calories of a small meal or snack. Take a look at your diet too; since food accounts for most of your weight compared to working out.
Strength training to bulk up
A lot of women don’t want to try strength training because they’re scared of bulking up the way a male bodybuilder does but that year is entirely founded.
Bodybuilders eat a lot and lift a crazy amount of weight some take steroids. If you’re a woman it’s even more difficult for you to bulk up like a bodybuilder or even just a regular man because you don’t have as much testosterone. At most doing some strength training will define your muscles and make you stronger.
Holding weights while walking
In the movies when someone is biking through their suburban neighborhood. You almost always see a middle-aged or senior citizen walking down the street with some weights in their hands. This holding weights when you walk to burn more calories, yes; but not enough to make a difference.
If you were thinking of just carrying heavier weights you would burn more calories but you also risk injury. Instead of small dumbbells up for a pole in nordic extra striding carrying a pole when you walk works your upper body and abdomen. You can walk faster allowing you to shed the fat now there’s also less stress on your back hips and knees.
You need a trainer
If you want a more active lifestyle you don’t necessarily need a gym membership or a trainer. Exercising at home or going to the park might be enough.
However, if you have a specific goal in mind or are new to fitness and don’t know where to start then hiring a personal trainer is the way to go. As for the gym membership spending that extra money depends on you some people feel motivated seeing others workout and benefit from pushing themselves to get up and go to the gym.