There are many exercise myths around and it can be difficult to sort through what is real and what is not. The following list consists of 12 of the most common exercise myths and the truth behind them.
Myth #1: For exercise to have any benefit you need to do a lot of it.
Fact: Just 30 minutes of exercise a day will help with weight control, body image, sleep, stress and self-esteem.
Myth #2: For exercise to be effective it has to be done all at once.
Fact: So long as you do at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week, you will experience the many benefits exercise has to offer. How you do the 30 minutes is up to you but even three 10 minute sessions has benefits.
Myth #3: Walking is the best exercise.
Fact: While walking is an exercise most of us can do, it’s not the only exercise or the best. Any exercise that allows you to raise your heart rate will be of great benefit to your health.
Myth #4: If you want to lose weight you have to walk.
Fact: Big misconception! While many fitness professionals advocate walking because it keeps you in the ‘fat burning’ zone, resistance training and high intensity cardio workouts are more effective at burning fat.
Myth #5: If you want to get fit you have to run.
Fact: While it’s true the running is a great cardio workout, there are many ways to increase your fitness including swimming, cycling, group exercise classes such as Zumba and circuit training.
Myth #6: Weight training makes women muscly.
Fact: Women are unable to gain the muscle mass the men do because they don’t have enough testosterone in their bodies. In fact, weight training is very beneficial for women, helping to burn fat, tone and strengthen muscles and build strong bones to fight osteoporosis.
Myth #7: Cardio is the only way to burn fat.
Fact: While cardio exercise has many benefits and does contribute to weight loss, weight training or resistance training builds muscle. And the more muscle you have, the more fat you burn!
Myth #8: If you exercise you will eat more and put on weight.
Fact: If you are eating a healthy diet, it is unlikely you will put on weight. Many people fall into the trap of believing that because they are exercising and burning calories, they can eat what they like. Not true! One of the benefits of regular exercise is muscle gain – while muscle weighs more on the scale, it also allows you to look slimmer and more toned.
Myth #9: Exercise is only useful if you are an athlete or need to lose weight.
Fact: Regular exercise is beneficial to everyone! In fact, regular exercise can reduce your risk of many lifestyle diseases such as diabetes and heart disease, and can reduce the symptoms of insomnia, depression and stress.
Myth #10: Exercise causes injuries.
Fact: Done properly, exercise can actually reduce your chances of injury as it builds stronger muscles and ligaments. Weight bearing exercise such as walking, running and weight training can also reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis by strengthening your bones.
Myth #11: Exercise only counts if it’s planned.
Fact: While it is important to have at least 3-4 planned exercise sessions a week, unplanned or incidental exercise is just as important – try walking up the stairs instead of taking the lift or get off the bus one stop earlier.
Myth #12: Never miss a day or exercise session.
Fact: It is important to include at least one rest day a week to help your body recover and to reap the benefits of exercise. Also, it is important to listen to your body and take a day off if you are sick or injured.