Over all the years of exercising, people have formed opinions about what works and what doesn’t. Even scientists and studies report different ways of doing things. One year they will tell you one thing and the next, something totally different. Studies, combined with people’s experience and imagination, has resulted in a number of exercise myths that can lead people astray when it comes to working out. Here are seven common exercise myths you can use to help you make good choices when it comes to your exercise goals…
1. Avoid Injuries With Stretching
Many believe that static stretching is necessary to loosen your muscles and get them ready for action. Studies have since shown that a warm up exercise, of about 5 – 15 minutes, is much better than simply doing individual muscle stretches. I truly believe this, as I sit here today with a groin pull, from a bunch of static stretching before playing soccer last night, rather than warm up exercises.
2. More Cardio Equals More Weight Loss
Surely, cardio can help you burn calories. They say the average person burns about 100 calories per mile of running. I have also heard that you have to burn about 3,500 calories to drop a pound of fat. So, if cardio is your only plan, it will take you 35 miles of running to burn a pound of fat. This doesn’t seem smart. If you want more weight loss, mix cardio with weight training and lessen your calorie consumption each day.
3. Early Morning Workouts Are The Best For Losing Weight
When it comes to workout times, everyone says it is best to work out in the morning. Personally, that is when I work out. But recent studies have shown that working out in the afternoon is just as effective as working out in the morning. The benefits of morning workouts include: a kickstart to your metabolism; and you get the workout down early, so that it doesn’t get missed. Though these are great benefits, it doesn’t make morning workouts more effective.
4. Cardio Machine Calories Burned Are Accurate
Bull…don’t let the cardio machine lie to you. Recent studies have shown that ellipticals typically overestimate the number of calories burned by 100 calories for every 30 minutes of exercise. It is reasonable to believe that treadmills are similarly off.
5. Workouts Should Be At Least An Hour
Workouts do NOT need to be an hour to be effective. Depending upon your fitness, you can have a good work out in as little as 10 minutes a day. The impact of the workout is much more reliant on the intensity of the workout and your current physical fitness. I find that I can get a good workout in with about 45 to 50 minutes of exercise. This includes my warm up exercises and some static stretching I do.
6. You Need To Hit The Gym Every Day
No days off is not ideal. Your body needs time to repair itself and rebuild your muscles. Don’t interrupt this process by insisting on hitting the gym every day. Hit the gym pretty hard for about 3-5x a week and take a couple days to let your muscles recover and rebuild.
7. You Should Do Your Cardio First
Doing cardio first is a sure way to deplete your energy stores. And to lift weights, you need energy. If you want to add cardio to your routine, either have workout days that are just cardio, or add cardio to the end of your routine, after you weight lift.
There are a number of myths out there. These myths pass through our workout circles influencing us to make some poor choices when it comes to exercise. At the end of the day, you need to do what is best for you and what you feel most comfortable with. Just be aware of these myths and use the truth to help you plan the best fitness routine you can. Learn what works best for you and stick to the path.