Have you been doing the same exercise routine for years without seeing any promising results? Have you been told that a typical workout should consist of three sets of 12 reps with the weights and at least 30 minutes of cardio? When it comes to exercising for health benefits, there happen to be an endless array of fitness myths in circulation. It’s time you knew the truth about exercise myths and facts.
Exercise Myths and Facts
The Exercise Myth #1: The best way to strengthen your heart and prevent heart disease is through aerobic exercise.
The truth is that sprint interval training and weight lifting are superior to achieving cardiovascular health. Regular exercise is very important for overall health, however for many people, spending a large amount of time doing aerobic exercise is not very time efficient or even very healthy. Many studies note that interval training and weight training are more advantageous than a simple 45-minute walk on a treadmill. When exercising for health, incorporate spring training into your workout by doing three to five rounds of 30-60 second bursts of cardio at your highest intensity, followed by two to four-minute rest periods of walking.
The Exercise Myth #2: If workouts aren’t getting you the results you want, you must work out more.
If a half hour on the treadmill isn’t producing results, it’s time you considered your intensity level. It’s the intensity that you want to increase NOT the volume if you want to increase your results. Intensity takes effort. If you’re sitting on the bike at the gym reading a magazine or having a conversation, that’s a low-intensity, high volume workout. This type of workout is not going to be very useful. Increasing the volume of workouts can actually lead to over-training syndrome, which can cause body aches, fatigue poor performance and even heart damage. Worse yet, overtraining syndrome can last for months even after a reduction or cessation of the activity that caused the problem in the first place.
The Exercise Myth #3: Athletes are examples of perfectly healthy human beings.
Athletes have a shorter lifespan than the average couch potato. The average elite athlete will die by the age of 67, considerably lower than the 76-year expectancy of the average American. In fact, according to the NFL Players Association, the average life expectancy of an NFL player is 58 years. The excess volume of training causes “wear and tear” on the body and results in the premature aging of athletes.
The Exercise Myth #4: A very slow heart rate is a sign that you’re in great shape.
An excessively slow heart rate is actually a sign of cardiac damage. Your nervous system can become distorted by overtraining, leading to fatigue, sleeplessness and pain disorders like fibromyalgia. Your normal resting heart rate should be in the 60s or low 70s. Anything lower is a sign of a problem. When you over-train, you run the risk of decreasing your heart rate which can lead to cardiac autonomic nervous system imbalance. Long-term endurance training significantly influences how the autonomic nervous system controls heart function. Endurance training increases parasympathetic activity and decreases sympathetic activity in the human heart.
The Exercise Myth #5: Exercising a body part will reduce the amount of fat on that part.
The truth is, in order to lose fat on any part of your body, you must lose weight overall. Spot training will not cause fat loss on any particular body part, but will improve the muscle tone to the part that is trained. When exercising for health and weight loss, make sure to incorporate sprint interval training and weight training.
The Exercise Myth #6: Sit-ups and crunches will reduce your waist size.
These exercises will actually build up the muscles of your abdomen increasing the size of your waist. In order to shed flab around your waist, you must lose weight overall.
The Exercise Myth #7: Sports drinks keep you from getting dehydrated and encourage athletic performance.
These beverages are high in sugar levels and often contain high fructose corn syrup. They will actually cause dehydration and worsen athletic performance. You’re better off drinking water.
When it comes to exercise, less is often better than more. To get the most out of your workouts, keep these fitness myths in mind and you’ll be on your way to better results when exercising for health. For the best results, keep the tips in mind as well:
- Train no more than two-three hours per week, and make sure to take two full days off each week
- Weight train each body part once or twice a week and incorporate interval training on the days that you do not do weights
- Choose appropriate weight in which you can one set of six to 12 reps to exhaustion
- Use correct posture, proper technique, full range of motion, proper isolation and constant tension when lifting weights
- Don’t work out when sick, late at night or when you experience symptoms of overtraining.
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Exercise Myths: Separating Fact from Fiction