There are so many myths about exercise and fitness that it has become difficult for us to separate facts from fiction. From myths like “exercises for specific body parts”, “workouts are not complete without supplements & energy drinks” to “you are too old to start exercising”, there is not one person who does not believe in at least one bizarre myth. You lose weight all over – you cannot lose fat at one spot at a time. Supplements and energy drinks are required for high-intensity workouts that last for over an hour – not all workouts. Lastly, you can start exercising at any age, but what is important is that you start!
Here are some other crazy myths about exercise debunked for you!
MYTH #1: Home workouts are better/worse than gym workouts
Fact: There have been several studies on whether home workouts were better than gym workouts or vice versa. Some studies showed home workouts were better while others showed that gym workouts were better. It really depends on the level of commitment of the person doing the exercise. A person who has the gym equipment at home may feel inspired to start but may not be motivated enough to continue. Likewise, one who stays far away from a gym may not feel as motivated to stay focused had the gym been closer. So, as long you set your mind on a type of workout and stick to it, it is a great workout!
MYTH #2: Exercise won’t make you lose weight, just build muscle
Fact: Although exercise, especially strength training, does help build muscle, it does not mean that you will not lose weight. People find that it is easier to control their diet than it is to exercise. Dieting can help you shed a few kilos but you will not only lose fat, you will also lose muscle mass. By exercising, you are building muscle mass and losing fat at the same time. When you combine the diet and exercise, you can optimise weight loss and muscle building.
MYTH #3: Exercise ensures a SPEEDY weight loss
Fact: This is a huge misconception when it comes to exercise and weight loss. It is not necessary that everyone loses weight at the same pace, nor is it right to believe that you will notice a significant drop in weight immediately. When you start exercising what you will notice is a difference in your health – you will feel more active and happy. You will be able to accomplish more in your day and may even start making healthier eating habits subconsciously. If you started running a kilometre at the start of your workout, you would be running 3 km after a month. You will notice the change over a period of couple weeks or even months, so stick to your routine, gradually increase the intensity of the workout and exercise religiously till you reach your goals.
MYTH #4: Muscle soreness is due to lactic acid build up
Fact: Lactic acid build up happens when the exercises don’t use up oxygen as a source of energy. This lactic acid may build up between the muscles during the workout but will eventually clear out. The muscle soreness after your exercise starts long after this lactic acid clears out so it is definitely not caused by it. In fact, the soreness is caused by microscopic tears in your muscles that happens after a rigorous workout. This is good because it means your muscles will now start repairing itself and form bigger, stronger muscles. If you feel like your muscles feel too sore after a workout, take a rest day or switch it up by doing something different but lighter. If today is weights-training, try going for a run instead. This will allow your muscles to recover while making sure you stay on track and don’t overexert yourself.
MYTH #5: Stretches = warm up
Fact: Any exercise routine that you do must start with a warm-up session. This is a thumb rule to exercise that everyone knows but not everyone knows what a warm up really is all about. A warm-up is when you get your muscles warm and ready for a workout. This helps keep your muscles protected from a potential injury during the workout. Stretches are when you ensure you feel limber. Although a warm-up session can include a few stretches, it should include other exercises too.
MYTH #6: You need hours of workout every day
Fact: In order to get in shape, you don’t need to spend hours at the gym. You could even opt for high-intensity interval training to get fit. This way, you could squeeze in a great workout and get results in a short span of time. Do note, however, that a high-intensity workout that has to be done 15 minutes every day can be very rigorous and may take its toll. The workout may be too much for your body to handle at a time and you might need to space it out. If this is the case, try spacing out the 15-minute workout and make it a 30-minute workout. If you are able to spare an hour every day by waking up early, try that. Basically, you should do whatever suits your schedule the best. But this doesn’t mean that you should skip going for a run today simply because you won’t be able to keep up with it the rest of the week.