It’s like a game of telephone – you know the kind you played when you are a kid. He says this and then it’s passed along from one person to the next, being altered and degraded along the way until what you’re actually hearing is nowhere near what was originally stated. It’s how myths come to be believed and somewhere in what was started there was a grain of truth but now it’s all distorted. Fitness is one of the victims of that with one person overhearing parts of conversations across the gym and interpreting it and passing it along. Many of these, while not helpful, are harmless enough but others could hurt you. Here are some of the ones that are most often spread from one well intentioned enthusiast to the next.
Story: Aerobics keep burning calories for hours after you’ve stopped.
Okay this is not completely false. Your metabolism actually does experience a boost after you perform any kind of aerobic activity and this does not stop the moment you do. However, it does drop significantly to the point where over a 24 hour period you actually burned an additional 25 calories that day. So sure, go crazy and eat that extra carrot but don’t be fooled into thinking your body is burning off lots of fat while your watch The Amazing Race on your couch.
Story: Treadmill cause less impact on your joints than street running.
Are your legs moving and feet hitting the surface over and over again? Okay so what’s the difference? Running is amazing exercise and an overall great workout but it is hard on the knees so you’ll want to switch to different exercises when you’re at the gym. Try using an elliptical or bike if you want to spare yourself the impact.
Story: If you want to lose way, all you have to do is swim.
It’s true that we don’t see a lot of fat fish out there which is shame if you’re a fisherman but unless you’re swimming all day every day like they are, swimming is best used to improve muscle tone, breathing capacity and relieve stress but it’s not a big fat burner. The water actually reduces the effect of the movement and cushions the pressure of the activity.
Story: Yoga is good for back pain.
While this may be applicable for some sorts of back pain, it can actually exacerbate others. The stretching is excellent to reduce pain that is born of muscle tension by delivering more oxygen to those areas and it can also help to build your core strength is you experience lower strain. However, if pain is related to disc injuries or spinal issues, it may cause more damage. Check with your chiropractor to see what they recommend.
Story: Sweating and heavy breathing are the way to tell if you’re getting fit.
Not true. Yoga won’t make you hyperventilate and walking won’t like work up a sweat and both are excellent ways to maintain good flexibility and fitness levels. Unless you’re doing some serious training for bodybuilding or marathons, simple activities will help you maintain fitness. This goes hand in hand with the no pain, no gain story – while you may feel stiff after a tough workout, pain is an indication that you’ve gone too far. Stop and have that checked out.