There are a lot of exercise myths. Here are 10 of the most common myths and the truth behind the fiction.
1. Spot reducing is possible.
Spot reducing is based on the flawed notion that it's possible to burn off fat from a specific area of the body by selectively exercising that area. Exercising a specific area of your body will build and strengthen the underlying muscle but it will have no direct effect on fat loss in that area.
2. Sit-ups are a good ab exercise.
Sit-ups are actually one of the more ineffective ab exercises you can do because they work the hip flexor muscles more than the ab muscles. Sit-ups can also be hard on the lower back.
3. Low intensity aerobic exercise is best for fat loss.
Low intensity aerobic exercise burns a high percentage of fat compared to total calories burned, but high intensity aerobic exercise burns more total calories. High intensity aerobic exercise also causes a much greater increase in Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC). EPOC, commonly known as the afterburn effect, refers to how many additional calories your body will have to burn in order to repair, recover and return back to the way it was before a workout took place.
4. Weight lifting has little effect on fat loss.
Weight lifting actually plays a key role in losing body fat because it builds and maintains lean muscle mass. Lean muscle mass is metabolically active tissue, so the more lean muscle mass you have the higher your metabolism will be. The higher your metabolism, the more calories your body burns to maintain itself.
5. Women will develop big, bulky muscles if they lift weights.
The truth is that women don't have enough of the hormone testosterone (a key hormone for building muscle) to develop big, bulky muscles. Without using steroids to unnaturally alter their testosterone levels, it's not possible for women to develop big, bulky muscles.
6. Women should use light weight and do high reps when lifting weights.
There's a misconception that weight lifting for women is all about performing sets of high reps using light weight in order to get a more toned look. The reality is that in order to get a more toned look, you have to increase lean muscle mass. The rep range that builds the most lean muscle mass is 8-12 reps per set, so the weight you use each set has to be heavy enough so that you can't perform more than 12 reps in good form.
7. Stretching is a good way to warm up before exercising.
You should never stretch cold muscles. Stretching cold muscles can cause injury, and several studies have shown that stretching cold muscles slightly decreases muscle strength and power for up to an hour after stretching. Warm up first, then stretch. Or stretch after your workout.
8. The more exercise the better.
This is one of those exercise myths that far too many people believe is accurate. The truth is that too much exercise can lead to injury and/or burnout. When it comes to exercise, you need an appropriate balance of training and rest.
9. Muscle weighs more than fat.
Muscle does not weigh more than fat - one pound of muscle and one pound of fat both weigh one pound. But muscle is more dense than fat, which means that one pound of muscle takes up less space than one pound of fat.
10. Your muscles will turn to fat if you stop exercising.
This is one of those exercise myths that's been around for a long time. The truth is that fat and muscle are two different types of tissue, so one cannot convert to the other.
In conclusion, don't be fooled by any of these common exercise myths. Rely on proven information to help you meet your health and fitness goals.
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