We’ve all done it: made excuses for not exercising. But do our excuses really hold water? Clearing up the misinformation can help keep us on track with our commitment to building a healthy lifestyle. Here are eight common exercise myths.
1. Myth: If you don’t exercise daily, it won’t do any good. Reality: More exercise is better, but even a little exercise is better than none at all.
2. Myth: Spot training will reduce key areas of fat.
Reality: Although spot training builds muscle, it doesn’t reduce fat. To reduce fat, nothing beats a cardio workout.
3. Myth: Muscle converts to fat when you stop exercising.
Reality: Muscles do shrink if exercise ends, but they don’t convert to fat.
4. Myth: Morning is the best time for a workout.
Reality: Some people like to work out in the morning, others during their lunch hour and others at night. Exercise at the time of day that feels best for you.
5. Myth: Gaining muscle mass means gaining weight.
Reality: Many women avoid weight training because they fear they’ll gain weight. However, women have much lower levels of testosterone (a main contributor to muscle-mass building). Consequently, weight training will produce tone, rather than bulk, in women.
6. Myth: No pain, no gain.
Reality: Slight discomfort means muscles are working; pain is your body’s way of telling you to stop! Push yourself a little but not too hard.
7. Myth: You shouldn’t exercise right after eating.
Reality: You won’t harm yourself if you do some light exercise after eating. Running a marathon isn’t recommended, but a walk is always good after dinner.
8. Myth: Burning more calories than you eat is a healthy way to lose weight.
Reality: Exercise is good for toning the body, but most of us don’t have enough hours in the day to burn off our excess fat. Also, if you reduce your calories too much, your body will think it’s starving and will burn muscle tissue instead of fat.
The ideas our mothers taught us still hold true: eat a healthy, nutritious diet and get regular exercise even if the exercise occurs in small increments.