BY SOPHIA YASMIN

Every spring, people detach themselves from their winter slumber and try and get into shape for summer. Unfortunately, these recurring 10 myths seem to linger in the minds of gym goers every year, despite the wide-array of science and expertise that prove them wrong.

Although some old fitness fictions, such as “no pain, no gain” and “spot reducing” are fading fast, plenty of popular exercise misconceptions still exist and you may be following one without knowing it.

MYTH 1 – You’ll burn more fat if you exercise longer at a lower intensity. The faster you walk, step or run the more calories you use per minute. However, high-intensity exercise is difficult to sustain if you are just beginning, so you may not exercise very long at this level. It is safer, and more practical, to start out at a lower intensity and work your way up gradually.

MYTH 2 – Unless you work out hard and often, exercise is a waste of time. Research continues to show that any exercise is better than none. For example, regular walking or gardening for as little as an hour a week has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease.

MYTH 3 – Crunches will get rid of fat belly. You cannot pick and choose areas where you would like to burn fat. In order to burn fat, create a workout that includes both cardiovascular and strength training elements. This will decrease your overall body fat.

MYTH 4 – You should never eat before a workout. Food and fluids are required to provide the energy for your muscles to work efficiently, even if you are doing an early morning workout. Consider eating a small meal or snack one to three hours prior to exercise.

MYTH 5 – Exercise is the only way to lose weight. As with all responses to exercise, weight gain or loss is impacted by many factors, including dietary intake and genetics. Although exercise alone cannot guarantee your ideal weight, regular physical activity is one of the most important factors for successful long-term weight management.

MYTH 6 – Strength training will bulk you up. Most exercise experts believe that cardiovascular exercise and strength training are both valuable for maintaining a healthy weight. Strength training helps maintain muscle mass and decrease body fat percentage.

Myth 7 – Exercise turns fat into muscles. Fat and muscle tissue are composed of two entirely different types of cells. While you can lose one and replace it with another, the two never “convert” into different forms.

MYTH 8 – The health benefits of exercises like Tai Chi and yoga are questionable. In fact, research showing the benefits of these exercises continues to grow. Improved flexibility, balance, coordination, posture, strength and stress management are just some of the potential results of mind-body exercise.

MYTH 9 – Exercise doesn’t benefit obese people. Studies show that obese people who participate in regular exercise programs have a lower risk of all-cause mortality than sedentary individuals, regardless of weight.

MYTH 10 – You have to sweat to have a good workout. Sweating is not an indicator of exertion. Sweating is your body’s way of cooling itself. It is possible to burn a significant number of calories without breaking a sweat: take a walk, or do light weight training, or work out in a swimming pool.

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