There’s a ton of misinformation out there about the best ways to achieve your fitness goals. To help you sort through the muck, we’ve clarified some of the most common fitness myths below.
Myth: 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 increased metabolism as you build muscle, as well as added calories burned as you add intensity and duration.
Myth: 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: 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 knee impact, experts say, is to vary your workout. Alternate running with other cardio activities, like biking or swimming.
Myth: 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 yoga or stretching when muscles are already warm.
Myth: 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. It’s always a good idea to consult with your doctor before starting any exercise routine.
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