Exercise myths are everywhere. Some are old-school and continue to persist, and some change frequently, based on the latest research. Here's a quick debunking of the most common exercise myths.
- Targeted fat loss is possible. This is the idea that to lose belly fat, do lots and lots of crunches to lose the weight in your midsection. YaleScientific.org says that this simply does not work, because when fat breaks down, it breaks down from all over the body, no matter what exercise is being done. The best bet for looking svelte all over is a cardio program that burns a lot of calories.
- It’s only a good workout if you sweat a lot. Sometimes sweating profusely and a great workout go hand in hand, but they don’t have to. Amounts of perspiration can vary greatly from person to person based on physiological differences, and there are a lot of other factors that affect sweating, says USAtoday.com. Other factors include what’s worn during exercise, external temperature, and humidity. Two people doing the exact same activity can have huge differences in the amount they sweat, and sweat alone is not an indicator of how good a workout is.
- You must stretch before a workout. This myth dies hard because so many people have done this for such a long time, it feels wrong not to. According to PopularMechanics.com, research has shown that stretching before a workout actually does not enhance performance, and may even hinder it. Also, stretching prior to exercise has not been shown to reduce the likelihood of injury, says USAtoday.com. A better bet is a proper warm-up before beginning anything intense, and save stretching for after exercise.
- No pain, no gain. The bottom line on this one is that if it hurts, stop immediately. CNN.com says no exercise should ever feel painful. Great workouts can still be achieved without inflicting pain or injury. While it’s true that to improve, limits must be pushed, that limit does not extend to a place of physical pain.
- Exercise and eat anything, anytime. Exercise does not make up for a bad diet. Holding on to this thought could actually cause a higher caloric consumption, because many people feel they ‘deserve’ a treat after a great workout. The best way to reduce overall fat, lose weight, and maintain a healthy weight is to eat a healthy, balanced diet and exercise regularly.