Within the ever-evolving world of health and fitness, new and popular fads surrounding exercise and diet seem to pop up on an almost daily basis. Unfortunately, though these fads are damaging enough during the time they spend on the spotlight, they can also continue to linger after the media hype dies down, in the form of dangerous exercise myths. Of course, like any myth – when left to linger for too long, people will begin to believe that these unhealthy “ideas” are actually facts, and start pursuing poor diets, bad fitness practices, and more.
In an effort to help you avoid the threats of blindly following any exercise or dieting tip you find online, we will address four of the biggest culprits in this article, when it comes to myths that may impact your weight loss programs.
1. Crunches Will Instantly Dissolve Stomach Fat
If the number one query that plagues your exercise routine is “How to reduce belly fat”, the chances are you’ve come across a number of sources determined to convince you that ab exercises and crunches are the best option you have. With plenty of programs on the market adopting names like “fat blaster” or “ab master”, it’s easy to see why people think that repetitive ab exercises may be the key to a toned stomach. However the truth is simple: crunches don’t burn belly fat.
Exercises for the abdomen are intended to help you tone the muscles around your stomach, and completely these exercises on a regular basis will help towards developing a great 6-pack. However, they won’t do much to help you get rid of that unwanted fat in the first place. Consider it like this – your abs are tucked away under a layer of fat, and while you can crunch all day and night to tone your muscles, you won’t see the results unless your regimen also includes some cardio and weight lifting to help burn down that layer. The true key to a healthy lifestyle and great physique is a combination of different exercises.
2. Running Damages Your Knees
A study conducted by Stanford University determined that the knees of older runners had no more damage or discomfort than the knees of people who didn’t run regularly. Why then, is it that so many people are convinced that running – either outside or on a treadmill, is so damaging to their joints? Although running is nowhere near as dangerous as some people might suggest, it’s fair to note that women are between 4 and 6 times more likely to risk injury through running to men, because of their imbalance in strength between their hamstrings and quadriceps.
With that information in mind, it can be a good idea to combine any running routines for fitness with a regular total-body strength workout that takes place in your regimen at least two times a week. This will help to improve your running experience, while reducing your chances of falling victim to an unwanted injury.
3. You Must Sweat for 45 Minutes to See Benefits
If you decide to track down a personal trainer in London and ask them the best way to lose weight, the chances are that they’re not going to give you the answer you would expect. Many people assume that in order to get any benefit from their fitness regimens, they need to sweat for a minimum of at least forty-five minutes every day. However, the truth is that even if you only have around half an hour to spare, or even a measly ten minutes, you could have plenty of time to improve your cardio health.
More studies than ever before are showing the value of shorter workouts over longer routines – and many suggest that the quicker options could actually be better for your body. In fact, a research study conducted by Arizona State University determined that people experienced lower blood pressure readings when splitting their daily walk into three segments of ten minutes, than they did when taking a single 30-minute stroll.
4. Stretching Helps You Recover Faster
If stretching after a hard workout helps you to feel better, then keep doing it so long as it doesn’t do any damage to your muscles. However, don’t be tricked by the idea that forcing yourself to stretch will make you recover quicker. The University of Milan found that there were no significant changes in the blood lactate levels of participants’ muscles when they were exposed to stretching after exercise.
Of course, though stretching may not speed up recovery or reduce the soreness in your muscles, limbering up throughout your workout can have some benefits, and a stretching session after your workout can help to develop joint flexibility.
Marc Dressen, MSc
Personal Trainer in London
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