Common Workout Myths and Misconceptions
There are a lot of myths and misconceptions circulating about exercise and getting fit. Unfortunately, if you believe some of these misconceptions, it can really hinder you and your fitness progress. Here is an overview to help you sort workout fact from fiction.
Myth 1: Certain Exercises Produce Quick Results
If you were ever told a certain exercise would yield results in a matter of hours or days, it was likely right before you were also asked for your credit card information. Exercise and fitness are a way of life, and even so, it is a gradual process where you see results over time. The human body simply cannot produce “instant” physical results after a short round of exercise. It is a consistent staple of any physically fit person’s life.
Myth 2: Warm-ups Are Not Necessary
Any person who plans on engaging in physical activity for any period of time should spend at least a few moments preparing their body by doing some light stretching, running in place, doing jumping jacks, or lunges to get the blood flowing and to help your muscles through different ranges of motion. Engaging in strenuous exercise with no warm-up is a surefire way to put yourself at risk for strain, soreness, chronic pain, and injury.
Myth 3: Exercise is Too Difficult
For anyone who goes from leading a generally sedentary lifestyle to being significantly active, the change can be difficult – especially with trying to get in the right mental space. If you start slow and build your way up, your odds will be much higher of finding exercise easy to stick with and enjoyable, rather than if you were to throw yourself head-first into an active lifestyle.
Myth 4: Exercise is Too Boring
Exercise is not barred to a limited number of activities. That’s what makes exercising so great, after all. As long as your body is in motion, you are getting physical activity! The idea is to find something that you really enjoy, and integrate it with your regimen. For example, if you enjoy cleaning the house while listening to music and dancing around, you could magnify this pastime and make it part of your daily routine. Likewise, if you enjoy a particular sport, like tennis, you could use it instead as your primary activity. Exercise should be fun, and not something you spend all day dreading.
Myth 5: Six-Pack Abs are Impossible
Many people believe abs are something to be “gained,” and this just isn’t true. Every living person already has a “six-pack,” but for most, it isn’t visible due to fat lying between the abs and the outer layer of skin. Diet and cardio fitness are the two primary influences that determine whether or not a six-pack if visible. In some cases, some of the fittest people will never attain a visible six-pack due to genetics and other factors. This doesn’t detract from the notion that you should always nurture your core, however. A fit core ensures longer endurance and heightened strength.
Myth 6: Exercising takes too long
Ask anyone who leads a sedentary lifestyle why they don’t exercise, and you’ll hear the excuse, “I don’t have time,” so many times your head will spin. The truth is that most people do have time; they just don’t want to do the work to reach a fitter lifestyle or they aren’t making it a priority to fit a workout in their schedule.
Exercise doesn’t have to equate to spending hours on a treadmill every day. You can work out from anywhere between 15 and 60 minutes in a day, to feel better and see some benefits over time.
There are many things you can do to get a great workout in without taking a lot of time. Some examples of fitness activities that won’t take up your day include: taking your dog for a daily walk, doing a quick 14-minute workout a Bowflex Max Trainer, playing soccer with your kids, or taking a yoga class.
Myth 7: I’m already at a healthy weight; I don’t need to exercise
After all, people solely work out to lose weight, right? It seems silly once it’s put like that. Weight loss is not the only reason people exercise, and it shouldn’t be your only reason either. If you are not overweight, there is the chance that you may be what is referred to as “skinny fat”. While you may have a normal BMI, if you are not eating well and are not getting much physical activity to speak of, you may have a higher amount of visceral fat – which is internal fat that is stored around the organs.
Myth 8: I Burned x Amount of Calories on x Workout Machine
The numbers that your treadmill, elliptical, stationary bike, etc. provide aren’t that accurate. Most workout machines do not take into consideration your age, height, weight and body fat, or sex – all of which can impact the amount of calories that you burn.
If you are relying on the amount of calories that an exercise machine is telling you that you burned to figure out your daily calorie intake – you could be eating the wrong number of calories.
Myth 9: Women shouldn’t lift weights
One of the main reasons a lot of women avoid lifting weights or muscle strengthening exercises – is that they fear looking bulky or getting too large. It is very hard for women to bulk up without having to overload their muscles. Men are able to build their muscles far faster, due to their natural testosterone levels. Women really have too much estrogen to build up a large amount of bulk easily.
It is important for both men and women to lift weights and increase the amount of muscle that they have – or to at least to try to retain the muscle that they already have. Strength training will help to decrease body fat, burn calories more efficiently, and increase lean muscle mass. As we age, muscle mass will start to decrease which can cause some difficulties over time.
Myth 10: If I work out – I can eat whatever I want
You can never out run a bad diet. If you are loading up on sugar and fatty foods and aren’t eating a well-balanced diet with fresh fruits and veggies – you won’t see much by way of results. Good nutrition and exercise go hand in hand when it comes to being healthy or losing weight if that is your goal.
Myth 11: No pain, No gain
An ongoing misconception is that one should feel pain during a workout – or there will not be any benefits. While it is okay to experience some discomfort during a workout, it is not advised to workout through any type of pain as you may be injuring yourself.
When you exercise, you are nurturing many different processes and systems in your body that promote a healthier, more fulfilling quality of life. Exercise is very similar to maintaining your vehicle. If you don’t periodically change your vehicle’s oil, it will have costly problems down the road. The same goes for your body. You owe it to your body and mind to make exercise a consistent staple in your life. Be sure not to take every fitness tip out there as gold – there is a lot of false information circulating about fitness and/or weight loss.