Busting Top 5 Fitness Myths
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Working out and leading a healthy lifestyle is a journey towards our fitness goals. I have often come across people who have jumped on this bandwagon without prior studies.Being fit and healthy can be quite a difficult task and the best way to achieve fitness goals is to possess right and adequate information. The most popular New Age source of information is the internet. The internet can often be a dark place when it comes to finding reliable and factually-correct information. It is hard to segregate information and classify it as good, bad, fictitious or factual, especially when fiction can sound so convincing.
It is suggested that one should not trust everything blindly. We must not start a certain routine or follow a certain diet without the approval or recommendation of a fitness expert, dietician or nutritionist. Over the years, a lot of people have come up with some bizarre and unreasonable ‘facts’ that many people wanting to be fit fall prey to.
By debunking some of these popular and well-known fitness myths, I will help you walk the right path of fitness and make your goals much more tangible. These myths are around diet, exercise, and numerous other things.
Below are the top 5 myths that I would like to bust:
- Myth: Spot reduction of fat is possible.
While you are working out, you put your entire body in an exertion mode. However, it is not in your control to lose fat from a particular body part. Fat cells are distributed across your entire body and they are not limited to certain body parts. If you want a flatter belly/stomach, engaging in hundreds of crunches is not going to have immediate effects. Fitness is a continuous process, and there are certain exercises that will help define the stomach muscles, once the layers of fat have melted. Strength training and cardio training are the right kind of exercises that will help you achieve optimal results along with correct eating habits.
- Myth: A lot of cardio is the best way for weight loss.
Excess of cardio like running or jogging or working out on a treadmill will surely help you lose weight. Apart from weight loss, a lot of cardio will also cause loss of muscle mass. A relatively lesser amount of body fat is lost in the process. Excessive cardio training also results in loss of strength and stamina. The healthiest form of losing weight is a combination of both, cardio and strength training. It is the best approach for achieving fat loss, as having more lean mass helps your body burn more calories at rest.
- Myth: Overweight people are supposed to work out and slim people shouldn’t.
It is a very common notion that someone who weighs high on the weighing scale is considered
to be an ‘unhealthy’ person or someone who weighs low on the scale is ‘fit’. A person who is on
the heavier side might be stronger with more amount of lean body mass, whereas the person who is smaller or lighter may lack strength and stamina. A smaller or lighter body is not necessarily a healthy body; weight is not indicative of good health. If you are losing weight, but you do not feel well, you are perhaps doing something wrong. Regular strength and cardio exercises will improve your heart health, keep your joints lubricated, and boost your metabolism; minimising overall injuries, regulating your hormones, and making you strong, eventually.
- Myth: Crunches are the best moves for the core.
Core work is very important for strength and overall health, however, it requires more than just crunches. To really clinch the waistline and tighten the core, planks variations are much more effective, using your body weight. These plank variations can keep progressing as the intensity increases. Engaging in the right form and technique while doing power movements such as deadlifts and squats help to further strengthen the core.
- Myth: You should stretch your muscles before workout.
This myth is essentially based on the idea that stretching before exercise reduces the risk of injury through improvements in the range of motion and blood flow. However, there is no scientific proof stating or confirming this myth. Stretching is known for putting muscles to sleep and causing them to relax. This is necessary post-workout, as it reduces the risk of any injury. Before starting a workout routine, you want to get adrenaline flowing in and the muscles fired up with proper mobility exercises. Stretching should be done after the exercise, this gives recovery time to muscles.
Fitness advices and patterns are continuously changing and people are always learning, but we definitely do not want any misconceptions, as far as weight loss is concerned. Therefore, it is important to dismiss these myths in order to live a healthy life.
Roohi Merchant is Head Health Coach and Sports Nutritionist at I Think Fitness. She is also a Health Council member at Healthhunt.