10 exercise myths you shouldn’t believe

Posted on in Industry News, News

exercise mythsWe at FEI write a lot about different exercises and health trends. Some of what we write about includes our products, some don’t. Today, we wanted to take a break from what we usually write about so we could discuss exercise myths. In the internet age, exercise myths disguised as expert tips are easily found and distributed every day. While some are harmless, others can cause a serious injury.

We originally found this list of exercise myths on LifeHacker. The Lifehacker experts interviewed Dr. Brian Parr, associate professor in the department of exercise and sports science at the University of South Carolina to get the details about these myths.

Myth #1: No pain, no gain

Working out should not leave your body feeling horrible the next day. Discomfort is totally natural, but pain is another story. This myth has been debunked by doctors, physical therapists, and researchers, but it still persists because many people think pushing themselves to work out harder is the way to get results. Your workout should be challenging, but if you’re experiencing pain you should stop.

Editor’s note: if you are experiencing pain you should seek immediate help from your primary healthcare physician.

Myth #2: Soreness after exercise is caused by lactic acid building in your muscles

You are sore for a few days after your workout because of delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS). The soreness isn’t caused by lactic acid, but by microscopic tears that occur in your muscles as you exercise. These muscle tears aren’t anything to worry about. In fact, they are an important step for the muscle to get bigger and stronger. When your body repairs those tears, it builds new, healthy, and strong muscle tissue.

Myth #3: Exercise is worthless if I can’t do it regularly for hours

Getting in shape doesn’t have to take a long time. Spending hours at the gym won’t get you in shape any faster. In fact, one study found that as little as 20 minutes per day is all that is needed.

If you want to ramp up the intensity of your workouts, try High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). HIIT will take less time, but it requires you to put more effort into your workout.

Ultimately, if you don’t like the workout you are doing chances are you won’t stick with it. The key is to find something you like to do. It doesn’t matter if you are running, boxing, yoga, or dancing.  Any form of exercise that you enjoy and that gets you moving will do the trick.

Myth #4: You need a sports drink when exercising to replenish your body’s electrolytes, minerals, etc.

Sports drinks are important for improving performance in high-intensity exercise that lasts longer than an hour. They replace sugar, which is lost in sweat, and fuels the muscles during intense exercise. Sports drinks are not necessary for low-intensity exercise. Often times the drinks can have more calories in them than you burn during the workout, which can ultimately lead to weight gain.

Myth #5: Stretching before exercise will prevent injury

This depends on what you mean by stretching. Dynamic stretches are important for preparing your body to start exercising. Static stretching (toe touches for example) does not warm you up properly prior to exercising.

Myth #6: Working out will only build muscle, not help me lose weight

Many people who start working out will not see immediate weight loss unless they are also practicing a healthy lifestyle. Because they don’t see the number on the scale go down, people often get frustrated and quit all together. You shouldn’t quit! Small changes in your diet (for example, switching that can of soda for a bottle of water) can help reduce your caloric intake. Pair that with regular exercise and strength training to develop muscle and you’ll start to see the number on the scale go down!

Myth #7: Exercise will help me lose weight quickly

Exercise is an important part of losing weight, but the entire process takes time. Let’s say you try to walk an hour a day (an estimated 3 miles). After a while you start walking faster. Maybe you try running three miles a day and it takes you about 30 minutes. As you get better and stronger at running it’ll take you less time to run three miles a day. The real weight loss benefits to exercise come from this eventual ramp-up of tolerance for intensity and duration of exercise. Try not to confuse the weight loss benefits of exercise with the health benefits of exercise.

Myth #8: You need to take supplements to build muscle

If you have ever watched TV, chances are you have seen commercials advertising supplements that are guaranteed to help you build muscle and give you an instant six pack. Unless you are a body builder, chances are they are not right for you. The typical person that lifts weights to stay fit and build a little muscle mass doesn’t need protein shakes or supplements.

If you’re looking to increase your muscle size then yes, you need to eat more protein. It is easy to get protein from the foods you eat every day. The protein found in most supplements is from milk or soy, things that if they are not in your fridge already are pretty easy to get. Again, this will be different for body builders, but the average person probably doesn’t need to take supplements.

Myth #9: If you don’t exercise when you’re young, it’s dangerous to do when you get older

It’s never too late to start exercising. That being said, you need to be careful about how you go about exercising as you age. A study from the Hebrew University Medical Center and Hebrew University Hadassah Medical School in Jerusalem found that seniors who exercised or even started exercising late in life were more likely to live longer than those who didn’t exercise. The individuals studied also lived out their final years healthier than their counterparts who avoided exercise.

The most important thing is to find an exercise that is right for your body. Someone who has limited mobility isn’t going to run a marathon, but they might enjoy chair Zumba or aquatic exercises.

Myth #10: Working out at home is better than working out at the gym and vice versa

People exercise differently. It all boils down to personal preference.

A 2008 study published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine found people with home gyms are more likely to begin to exercise, but they are less likely to continue exercising in the long run. Now, if you’re on the home gym side of the debate you might want to hold off on celebrating that you were right. The same study found that what really matters is the individual’s personal belief and willingness to stick to the regimen.

You won’t stick with an exercise program you don’t like. If you find something you love to do at home then do it. If you find yourself drawn to a class at your local gym then go and take the class. In the end, both versions of this myth are false.

Click here for the original article on LifeHacker.