6 Fitness Myths Exposed
Are you falling for these common fitness myths?
The fitness world is full of misinformation. Much of this incorrect information can lead to disappointment, hold you back at the gym or may even lead to injury.
Here are 6 common fitness myths you may have heard – and the actual facts behind them.
Myth #1: Exercise will lead to quick weight loss.
Fact: Exercise can help you lose weight, but losing weight requires a healthy diet in addition to exercise. The amount of extra calories you burn when exercising can be misleading. For example, walking or running a mile burns about 100 calories – but sitting still for the same amount of time burns 50 - 60 calories. The real weight-loss benefits from exercise come from increasing your metabolism as you build muscle, as well as added calories burned as you add intensity and duration.
Myth #2: The more you sweat, the more weight you'll lose.
Fact: Many people incorrectly believe that sweat volume equals weight loss. In truth, sweat is just the body's way of cooling your skin and regulating internal body temperature. Intense sweat is likely to be the result of an overheated gym or the beating sun and can actually be a warning sign that you're overdoing it.
Myth #3: If you're a woman and you lift weights, you'll start to look manly.
Fact: Testosterone is what's responsible for developing those big muscles you see in men. Women only produce a fraction of the testosterone that men do, and without it, you will not wind up with big bulky muscles even if you lift heavy weights.
Myth #4: Running on a treadmill puts less stress on your joints than running outside.
Fact: The force of your body weight, not the surface you run on, is what creates stress on your joints. The best way to reduce impact on your knees is to vary your workout. Alternate running with other cardio activities, like biking or swimming, which are easier on your joints.
Myth #5: To avoid injury, you must stretch before working out.
Fact: Aggressive stretching before a workout can actually lead to injury. Instead, experts advise that you warm up by easing into the exercise you plan to do. If you are going for a run, start by spending 5 minutes walking briskly. If you are weight training, spend 5 minutes practicing your lifts with just your body weight. Stretching is an important part of a fitness routine, but flexibility is best achieved by doing stretching when muscles are already warm.
Myth #6: It's dangerous to start an exercise routine if you didn't exercise when you were young.
Fact: It's never too late to start working out. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that seniors who exercised were likely to live longer and healthier, even if they started later in life. The older you are, though, the more cautious you should be. Consult with your doctor before starting any exercise routine.
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Date Last Reviewed: December 30, 2020
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor
Medical Review: Andrew P. Overman, DPT, MS, COMT, CSCS