Fitness Facts Vs. Myths
Whether you’re just beginning an exercise program, getting back into one or are already consistently maintaining an exercise regime, you’ve probably heard many things you believed to be fitness facts when, in reality, much of this information was presented erroneously to promote certain workout routines or fitness equipment and products. In a world where infomercials, magazines, videos, the Internet, and friends may offer contradictory advice, misunderstanding naturally flourishes. The following is a discussion of some of the most widely known fitness myths.
No Pain, No Gain – How many times have you heard this one? The implication is that you won’t get results unless you exercise at a high level of intensity to the point of physical exhaustion or pain. Research shows, however, that even low to moderate intensity routines yield valuable health benefits. According toLifefitness.com, a good general recommendation is to do cardiovascular exercise three to five days a week for 20 to 45 minutes per session at 65 to 80 percent of your maximum heart rate (220 minus your age)--which is a level where you are exerting effort but aren't left breathless.
1000 Crunches a Day will Give You Six-Pack Abs – Thanks to the rise in popularity of midriff shirts, low-rise jeans and male models sporting six-pack abs, everyone aspires to get “those” abs. And you may find yourself increasing the number of crunches in your routine, hoping that you’ll get them. The reality is that if there’s a layer of fat covering your muscles, definition will never become apparent. Askmen.com notes that your time would be much better spent doing some quality cardio sessions and making sure you’re eating well, which helps you lose body fat – the key to unveiling remarkable abs.
Spot Reduction is Possible – In actuality, it’s impossible. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. This misconception originates from the belief that you can burn fat from one part of the body by exercising only that area. The truth is that you cannot “burn fat,” but you can burn calories. Body sculpting is accomplished most effectively through a combination of aerobics, flexibility exercises, and weight training.
Exercise Takes Hours and Hours – Many people are convinced that extensive workouts performed every day will produce the results they seek. This myth has taken on even greater proportions with recent government recommendations for how long you should exercise. The truth is that when done properly and at the optimum intensity, aerobic movement can be effective in as little as 10-15 minutes, and resistance movement can be effective in an even shorter time (2-3 minutes). Dr. Ben Lerner, author of Body By God: The Owner's Manual for Maximized Living, states that exercising the right way three to four days a week will notably improve your health and fitness levels.
Exercise Alone Will Effectively Manage Your Weight – It’s not quite that simple. Although exercise is a good predictor of whether or not weight loss is maintained, weight gain or loss is depends on various other factors as well, including dietary intake and genetics. “People have the mistaken idea that exercise is a fabulous way to lose weight,” says William Evans of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. “But exercising doesn't burn a lot of calories. Walking or running a mile burns about 100 calories.” Still, regular physical activity is one of the most important components in maintaining a long-term, overall healthy lifestyle—it’s best to aim for a balanced diet and level of fitness that suits your individual needs.