Common Misconceptions About Exercise

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Exercise, whether done in the form of a morning run, hitting the gym or playing a sport that you so love, is an essential part of keeping the body healthy, especially after beginning to work full-time. Leading sedentary lives with constant stress, coupled with irregular eating habits and not enough rest can make a toxic combination that may lead to chronic illnesses and future ailments.

Workout keeps the body fit and mind healthy so they are able to take on daily challenges, helps you stay in good shape and keeps energy levels up through the day. There are, however, numerous misconceptions about exercising, and fitness in general, that have been propagated for ages, and continue to circulate even today. Here are a few myths about working out you should be careful of:

A) Gaining weight means gaining fat:

It’s been only a few months since you joined the neighborhood gym but the results aren’t showing on the weighing scale. This may be because a lot of factors go into weight loss, not just exercise. Besides, your body is building muscle tissue as you’re working out, not only losing fat in the process. A weighing scale won’t be the best judge of that.

B) Always stretch before exercise:

Contrary to popular belief, stretching before a workout has been discredited in recent years, suggesting the activity can decrease athletic performance in sports. It has been further said that stretching cold muscles can lead to injury. Instead, performing warm-up exercises, by mimicking the range of motion of your workout with lighter weights or without them is a better course of action.

C) Exercising on an empty stomach:

Working out on an empty stomach can in fact boost fat loss. Your early morning workouts on an empty stomach would mean that your body burns out the low glucose present in the body from last night’s meal quickly, and turns towards burning the fat in the body. The key is to not exercise after reaching fatigue as the next thing the body will turn to use up is muscle.

D) Fat turns to muscle and muscle turns to fat:

Fat and muscle are two different tissues, so they don’t turn into one another. Your exercise regime allows you to burn fat and build muscle at the same time, but it can’t do a conversion.

E) Weight training doesn’t boost weight loss:

You would hear several opinions about the best way to lose fat. One of them is the popular advice of doing cardiovascular activities in order to lose weight, but staying away from weight or strength training. The key factor of losing fat or weight is to burn more calories than you consume, so spending hours on the treadmill or bicycle isn’t a guaranteed way of losing weight alone.

While you may burn more calories doing cardio than strength training, the latter allows your body a higher resting metabolism. Strength training promotes muscle growth and muscle can burn more calories while resting as compared to fat.

Another beneficial way to boost fat loss is doing high-intensity interval training (HIIT) which can burn up to 25-30% more calories in far less time, as compared to cardio. However, every exercise has its own benefits and one must follow the routines they are comfortable doing.

F) Workouts must be an hour long:

The longer you work out, the more strained your ligaments, tendons and muscles become, thereby increasing the chances of injury. Instead, make your workouts short, intense and enjoyable!

G) You shouldn’t workout everyday:

Limiting your workouts in a day is a good idea, but there’s no harm in turning up to the gym six days a week. Your body does need rest to aid muscle recovery, which it gets with proper sleep every day.

H) Weight training bulks you up:

A large population of people believe that weight training will lead to bulking up and, as a result, they stay away from it, sticking to the cardio routine of treadmills, cross trainers or the bicycle. This is especially true for women.

There is, however, no danger of ‘bulking up’ with weight training. Women simply don’t produce the same levels of testosterone as men to be able to bulk up in a similar fashion. In fact, weight training can aid muscle growth, which can make you look leaner. Eventually, it comes down to the amount of food (read calories) that you consume and the energy you end up burning.

I) Sweat indicates more fat burn:

Sweat isn’t calories. While sweat is an indicator of your body working towards shedding those extra kilos, it is a more accurate assessment of your body losing water, and not fat.

J) Consume extra protein while working out:

If you’re a professional athlete, your body requires a much higher intake of protein to boost muscle growth. An average person, however, requires less than half that amount to function. Those working out can elevate their protein intake by a fraction which will be enough to promote muscle growth.

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