Get up and go! That’s all it takes, right? Not so fast! Many things that people think are true about exercise are actually wrong. Like anything else, if you don’t do it right, you are unlikely to get the results you expect. So let’s cut the fat and slim on down to the facts.
Lie Number 1. You will always achieve your goals if you stick with your exercise program.
Well, obviously, this depends on your goals and your program. Goals must be realistic and your exercise program must be designed with you in mind. Not everybody responds the same to the same exercise program. Given each of our genetics, it is likely that your personal gains in speed, power and endurance may be very different from that of other people you know.
Lie Number 2. You can lose as much weight as you want just through exercise.
Exercise is very important. But it will not do the job alone. As with all responses to exercise, weight gain or loss is dependent on many factors, including dietary intake and genetics. As discussed above, not everybody will lose the same amount of weight on the same exercise program. Believe it or not, it is possible to be active and still be overweight. You won’t believe how many black belts in karate I have known who were quick, strong and talented, but they just could not lose their beer bellies! Nevertheless, even though exercise by itself probably will not guarantee you reach your desired weight, regular physical activity is one of the most important variables in achieving a healthy and fit body.
Lie Number 3. You will burn more fat with low intensity workouts.
It’s a darn lie! The truth is that you will burn up more calories per minute the faster you move. The problem is that high-intensity exercise may be hard to maintain in the beginning, so most people are not able to exercise very long pushing so hard. Because of this, it is much safer and more practical to start out at a lower intensity and gradually work your way up. In general, the main benefit of low intensity exercise, other than as a starting point, is that it is less stressful on joints. However, the bottom line is that fat reduction depends on the total energy cost or how many calories are used up when exercising.
Lie Number 4. With specific exercises anyone can build their arm muscles or get a six-pack.
It’s just not true. What is true is that specific exercises will definitely tone and strengthen specific areas of your body. But if you have fat there you may not be able to see those strengthened muscles as they are covered with your fat! Not only that, but you cannot control where you will lose fat on your body through dieting or exercise. That is all genetic. That’s why being careful with what and how much you eat goes hand in hand with exercise. It’s a package deal. The good news is that research continues to show that any exercise is better than no exercise. For example, regular walking or even gardening for as little as an hour a week has been shown to help a person feel more energetic and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Lie Number 5. People who are obese are not likely to benefit too much from exercise.
That’s outright nonsense. Everybody benefits from exercise and everybody should consult with their doctor before beginning any workout program. Those who are very overweight probably need much more professional oversight and guidance so they do not try to do too much too quickly. But the truth is that research shows that obese people who participate in regular exercise programs have a lower risk of all-cause mortality than sedentary individuals, regardless of the fact that they are so overweight. Even a little bit of exercise is significantly better than no exercise.
Lie Number 6. If your goal is to lose weight, forget about strength training since it’s going to bulk you up.
Life is about balance. Your body needs cardiovascular exercise, such as aerobics or running, as well as strengthening, through push ups, planks or weight lifting. Strength workouts help increase muscle mass and decrease your body fat ratio. Everyone needs both.
Lie Number 7. Yoga and Tai Chi may be enjoyable but the fitness benefits are still unsubstantiated.
That may have been true years ago. But more recent research clearly illustrates that these exercise forms are quite beneficial in multiple ways. Some of these benefits include, improvements in coordination, flexibility, posture, balance, strength and stress management. Tai Chi has even been shown to help improve fibromyalgia and pain in the lower back.
Lie Number 8. Exercise programs in water are mainly for seniors and the handicapped.
Just because water fitness programs are primarily marketed to the handicapped and seniors, does not mean that they aren’t terrific alternatives for all of us. Water exercise offers many benefits, such as going easier on the joints, but don’t be fooled. These fitness programs can be just as challenging and successful for improving fitness and losing weight as any other. There are many athletes who incorporate water fitness programs into their workouts.
Lie Number 9. The best way to get healthy and lose weight is by going to a gym.
Poppycock! The best workout is one you are going to do! It has to be at least somewhat enjoyable, convenient, easily accessible and affordable. In fact, studies have shown that many people strongly prefer a home-based fitness program for all of these reasons! So ignore the hype about the latest fitness fads and trendy exercise equipment and facilities. Your best workout is what fits into your schedule, budget and needs. Do what works for you. But ya gotta do it!