December 12, 2011

Exercise Myths

Exercise and sexy woman
Image by Home and Heart via Flickr

Have You Heard About These Exercise Myths?

Have you ever heard that if you don’t exercise regularly your muscles will turn into fat? Not true, but your brain will turn into fat if you don’t exercise – just kidding. Or, that it is best to stretch before exercise? Not true, either. These are just a few of the many exercise myths out there.

This post will look at some of the more common exercise myths.

Myth 1: Aerobic exercise is the only exercise you need to do to control your weight.

Well, here’s what we know. Aerobic exercise in conjunction with a calorie restricted diet in an attempt to lose weight does not preserve or maintain lean body mass. Maintaining and even increasing lean body mass is essential to good health and improved metabolism. Better metabolism – better weight control. A pound of muscle burns 2 to 3 times the number of calories as non-muscle tissue. More muscle – the more calories you burn.

So it’s critical to add strength or resistance training to your exercise program if you desire to control your weight. You must also consume enough protein to at least maintain your lean body or muscle mass.

Myth 2: Muscle turns to fat if you don’t exercise regularly.

Muscle is muscle and fat is fat, and one cannot and does not turn into the other. But here’s what happens when you don’t exercise. Muscles get smaller and less toned giving you that soft and flabby look. Because you now have less muscle mass you burn fewer calories increasing the odds that you will become fatter.

Myth 3: It is best to stretch before you exercise.

It is generally felt that stretching reduces injuries and possibly enhances athletic performance. For best results though, it is best to stretch after the muscles are warm – this will reduce the risk of injury. So a 5 to 10 minute warm-up is advisable. It is wise to stretch after an exercise session, too, as this helps to remove lactic acid which can lead to muscle soreness.

Myth 4: Morning is the best time to exercise.

Some believe that you burn more calories if you workout first thing in the morning before eating. I haven’t seen any really good information on that. I would suggest exercising during the time of day you feel you have the most energy and simply get into a routine that best fits your schedule. The real key is being regular with your exercise. Some studies have shown that individuals who exercise in the morning are more likely to be regular with their exercise.

Myth 5: You can spot reduce weight loss.

No you can’t. No matter what part of the body you exercise the energy that you are burning is coming from all parts of your body, not just say your abdomen. Now exercising the abdominal muscles will make them more tone, but you will not burn more fat from the abdominals than compared to any other part of the body.

Myth 6: You can raise your metabolism better with aerobic exercises than other forms of exercise.

This one may surprise many, but the calories or energy expended during a bout of aerobic exercise is relatively small. More calories are burned during a comparable session of moderate to heavy weight training and through high intensity interval training “See Natural Metabolism Boosters”.

After a bout of aerobic exercise, metabolism returns to its baseline usually within an hour. Following high intensity interval training metabolism can stay elevated (though not significantly so) sometimes up to 24 hours depending on the length and intensity of the training session.

Myth 7: Women should avoid lifting weights because it will bulk them up.

Women need to maintain muscle mass just as much as men. How bulky one will look depends to a large degree on how much testosterone one has. Women make and need testosterone, too, but their levels and needs are approximately one-tenth of that of men. So get bulky muscles in women is not going to happen unless they are taking supra-physiologic doses of testosterone or anabolic steroids.

Don’t let these exercise myths misguide in your quest for better fitness and health.

See related articles.

“Aerobic Exercise: Helpful Tips”

“To Burn Calories Try This Exercise Bike Workout”

“Increasing Growth Hormone with Sprint 8”

“High Intensity Interval Training: Short and Sweet”

Pregnancy and Exercise”




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Dr. Joe Jacko

Dr. Joe is board certified in internal medicine and sports medicine with additional training in hormone replacement therapy and regenerative medicine. He has trained or practiced at leading institutions including the Hughston Clinic, Cooper Clinic, Steadman-Hawkins Clinic of the Carolinas, and Cenegenics. He currently practices in Columbus, Ohio at Grandview Primary Care. Read more about Dr. Joe Jacko

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