We finish up our series on health and wellness myths with some common myths about exercise and fitness.
- Weight training leads to big muscles—Strength training helps promote weight loss, protects against injury and increases bone density, which can lower the risk of developing osteoporosis. Yet some people avoid strength training because they’re afraid that lifting weights will cause them to “bulk up.” A healthy fitness routine includes both aerobic exercises (activities that raise your heart and breathing rate) and a strength training program to build strong muscles. Getting the big, bulky muscles like a body builder isn’t easy and takes a good amount of dedication, time and effort to achieve.
- No pain no gain—It’s normal to feel muscle fatigue and some soreness a day (or maybe two) after exercise, especially when starting a new routine, but you shouldn’t be feeling pain while exercising. Pain is the body’s way of saying something is wrong and could be signaling you have an injury. Continuing to exercise “through the pain” can make it worse and even cause new ones to develop. The best course of action is to stop what you’re doing and rest. If pain continues, it’s probably a good idea to check with your doctor.
- Certain exercises will burn fat in specific areas—There are plenty of infomercials and advertisements claiming you can target the fat in a particular area of the body by using a certain piece of equipment or doing a certain set of exercises. The reality is we have no control over when and where our bodies use up fat stores. A well-balanced fitness routine that includes aerobic activity and strength training is better at burning calories and fat throughout the body.
- Exercising the same group of muscles every day will make them stronger—Variety is the spice of life—the same is true of exercise. Doing the same routine over and over again can actually cause you to plateau since our muscles become very good at doing exercises they’re used to. In order to build strength, muscles need to remain challenged. Mixing up your routine will keep your body guessing and you’ll be better able to continue making gains. Just make sure you give your muscles enough time to rest to prevent injury. Rotate your exercises so you’re focusing on only one group of muscles a day.
- If you can’t dedicate a block of time to exercising, it’s not worth it—The general recommendation for a healthy lifestyle is doing at least 30 minutes of exercise three days a week, but our daily commitments can make it difficult to find the time to go to the gym to work out. The good news is, no one ever said your daily exercise has to be done all at once. Try breaking up your daily exercise into three 10 minute sessions spread out through your day, take the stairs instead of the elevator or go for a quick walk at lunch. A little activity is better than none at all.
(Information reviewed by the Clubs at Charles River Park)