The 5 Most Common Workout Myths – Debunked

The 5 Most Common Workout Myths - DebunkedWe have heard them all; those exercise “tips” that are sure to deliver results and then they are backed with some “logic” that has you thinking twice about your next workout.  Workout myths circulate in the news, media, and through word-of-mouth from person-to-person and the biggest reason why we have workout myths is because an individual tried something and it worked.  The research industry would say this myth occurred as a result of chance rather than from an actual phenomenon. This article will look into some of the most common workout myths currently circulating around and will discuss why it is a myth.  In addition, follow along with the myths to find out a true solution to something you may have been told before about exercise.

The Top 5 Most Common Workout Myths

  1. Treadmill running is easier on the knee joints. Sounds pretty reasonable as a myth; when your foot strikes the treadmill, it gives a little, meaning your knees experience less impact than from running outdoors.  The fact is running causes force to shoot up your leg and into your knees which does not change regardless of your surface.  The force by which your knee experiences impact is equal to gravity and your body weight.  Respected osteopathic doctors state that running on a treadmill is no different than if you run outside on the sidewalk, pavement, dirt, or trail [1].  If your knees bother you and you strictly run or jog for your cardio, consider reducing the amount of force placed on your knees by varying your workout with an elliptical, cycle, spin bike, or stair climber.
  2. Sweating leads to more calories burned. Physiologically speaking, every individual has a different rate at which they perspire.  With that said, sweating may not necessarily be correlated with calories used.  While you may sweat a lot during a great workout, a great workout does not always mean you sweat a lot.  Sweat, or perspiration, is a response from your body to cool your body temperature down to a normal level [2].  If you exercise outdoors in a hot and humid climate, you are sure to be sweating within five minutes.  Similarly, if your gym is chronically hot when you exercise, you are sure to be sweating quicker than normal, which could speed heat exhaustion.
  3. Stretching before your workout will prevent injuries. Flexibility is important for health and wellness and one of the best workout myths is that stretching before exercising can prevent injuries.  Stretching is a recommended activity that everyone should do at least four times per week after your muscles are warmed.  There is research to suggest that stretching before performance events like sprinting can actually diminish performance.  While it feels good to stretch before a workout, there is no evidence to suggest it can prevent injuries.  If you feel the need to stretch before and after your workout, be sure to warm up your body and muscles prior to stretching before your workout.
  4. Muscle soreness is caused by lactic acid buildup. This is one of the best myths out there; your muscles are sore because lactic acid levels are high in your blood.  This is far from the truth and the myth has always remained a myth.  Lactic acid is a byproduct in the body created from incomplete oxidative phosphorylation, meaning lactic acid builds up when your body cannot produce sufficient oxygen to meet muscular demand.  This is generally seen in very sick patients in a hospital and people who are performing cardio at the gym.  Lactic acid is responsible for increasing fatigue during a long-duration cardio workout and actually if you exercise well enough to get lactic acid built up in your body, you are working at the best possible spot to increase your fitness levels.  In contrast, muscle soreness is due to micro tears in your muscles; every time your muscles contract against a force, they tear.  The tearing phase is crucial to muscle building as the repairing of these tears is what causes adaptation to higher loads.
  5. Crunches and sit-ups will reduce my belly fat and make my waist smaller. This myth is probably the most well-known and somehow the myth is running strong even today.  Reducing the abdominal size is something many strive to reduce, but the only way to reduce this is to perform cardio and maintain a well-balanced diet [4].  Performing sit-ups and crunches will make your abdominal muscles stronger, which looks better than fat, but if you are looking to reduce the waist, look to make small adjustments to your diet, perform more cardio, and avoid sitting for long periods of time.






About the Author

, Celebrity Personal Trainer and Fitness & Nutrition Expert headquartered in Scottsdale, AZ. He specializes in helping men and women achieve weight loss, muscle building, toning and other customized fitness & nutrition programs to create a Healthy Lifestyle. James offers private luxury personal training, 12-week custom workout plans, and personalized nutrition meal plans. Follow on Google+.

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