The Truth Behind Common Fitness Myths

By Josilyn Brinley @DiAnnMills

Guest Blogger Josilyn Brinley

When it comes to the world of fitness, there are a lot of misconceptions and myths. Add in the numerous trends like fad diets and detox teas that rely on heavy marketing, and it can really get in the way of people just trying to reach their fitness goals. This is why it’s important to educate yourself before hitting the gym so your efforts aren’t for nothing.

That said, we’re here to debunk some of the most common fitness myths we may have all believed at some point.

Weights will make women bulk up

We’re all familiar with the stereotype that only men can lift weights while women should keep to low-intensity, “girly” workouts like yoga unless they want to bulk up. However, exercise physiologist Michael Wood says that it is physiologically impossible for women to bulk up in same way men can. This is because testosterone is responsible for muscle bulk, and women don’t have enough to build huge muscles. Instead, they will sculpt their muscles and achieve a more toned physique. So if you are a woman reading this, don’t skip the weights section, as it will be hugely beneficial to your fitness goals.

You can burn fat on specific areas

If you think you can burn the fat around your waist by doing sit-ups every day; you’re wrong. The fat cells your body uses for energy during workouts can come from anywhere on your body. The best way to burn fat is to do full body exercises that engage every major muscle group. Crunches on their own will do very little in reducing your body fat percentage.

You’re too old to exercise

Working out is generally seen as a young person’s game. Yet, there is a lot of evidence that shows why seniors should continue to exercise. In Reader’s Digest’s list of 50 exercise myths you shouldn’t believe, reports that “studies show that individuals who adopt an active lifestyle at any age can demonstrate improvements in strength, endurance, balance, and cognitive performance.” Not only that, physical therapist Douglas Ebner from The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, explains how exercise is crucial for older people to help them prevent falls due to poor health, which will lead to lengthy hospital visits. Exercise will help keep their bones strong and aid in supporting their skeletal system. With Maryville University detailing how the number of citizens aged 65 and over will increase by 15 million in 16 years, there is a higher risk that more people will find themselves in hospital due to falls. This is why those over 60 should make it a point to maintain a fitness routine. They can prevent falls and other illnesses associated with lack of exercise. You should never stop exercising and it is never too late to start.

You don’t lose weight if you don’t sweat

Sweating is your body’s way to cool your skin and regulate its internal temperature. Technically, you are losing weight– water weight, to be exact – but you’ll gain it back once you eat something or drink water. Sweating can be one way to purge toxins from your body, but it’s not by any means a sign of lost weight or how hard you worked during a workout.

Always stretch before exercising

Shocking isn’t it? Stretching before exercising is something people do because they feel like they should, or because someone else told them to. But research presented on Scientific American shows how stretching before exercising not only weakens muscles, but the reduced muscle tension can actually increase the risks for injury. The proper advice should be to warm-up before you exercise. Exercises like low-speed cardio can help raise the body’s temperature and increase blood flow to reduce muscle soreness. Stretch after you workout to cool down.

Here’s one myth that is true. Dr. Steve Wilson explains how laughter can make you lose weight, and it’s true. 10 to 15 minutes of laughing burns around 50 calories; and is also reported to improve memory, blood flow, and blood circulation. Spend time with family and friends who make you smile, laugh at your mishaps, and indulge yourself in things that tickle your funny bone.

There are lots of other hearsay out there, but a quick search can help you determine if it’s fact or not.

Thanks, Josilyn!

Josilyn Brinley is a fitness consultant who considers the beach her second home. She loves looking for the family and makes her own pasta from scratch. Her ideal Friday night is in bed with a great book.

What fitness myths have you heard?