There are so many myths out there about exercise, so here are a few common ones:
- Sit-ups will make my belly flat. Sorry if you’ve been diligently doing sit-ups every morning but they won’t make your tummy flat (and sit-ups aren’t particularly safe either – try crunches instead). You can’t reduce fat in just one area of your body, despite the assurances of companies trying to sell you equipment that promises to do just that. Exercising your whole body and having a balanced diet are they answer. This will help you reduce body fat all over and “tone up” your muscles.
- Exercising with weights will give me big muscles. This is a myth that generally worries women rather than men. And it’s not true. “Bulking up” is linked with the amount of muscle and testosterone you have, so if you were going to become very muscly, you would probably already naturally have large muscles. Using weights and resistance during exercise burns calories for much longer than cardiovascular exercise like walking, running or cycling. Also, the more muscle you have, the more calories you’ll burn. So pick up the weights ladies 🙂
- No pain, no gain. Ah, ye olde proverb of the body builder. It’s great to push yourself and progressively increase the intensity of your exercise, but it’s definitely not good to be in pain. Some muscle soreness for up to 48 hours after exercise is normal, but if you feel pain while exercising, stop immediately…if not sooner! Seek medical assistance if you suspect you are injured.
- Exercise will help me lose weight. This is a tricky one because, while exercise will absolutely help you lose fat and get fitter, stronger and healthier, as well as improving your flexibility and balance, the benefits may not show up on your scales. This is because muscle weighs more than fat. So ditch the scales. Buy a tape measure, measure around your waistline at belly-button height and use this measurement to gage your fat loss.
- It’s dangerous to exercise when you get older. Studies have shown that those who exercise, or start exercising, later in life are likely to live longer than those who don’t. Older adults who regularly exercise also remain healthier, stronger, more flexible and more independent for longer than those who avoid exercise. Have a look at the Older Adults page of my blog to see some of the many benefits of exercise: https://sunshinecoastfitness.wordpress.com/older-adults-2/
- I need to get to the gym. If you love the gym then that’s great – it’s safe, fully equipped and is staffed by exercise professionals to help you out. However, there are many people who don’t like the gym or just find it hard to get there. All of the exercise which I do can be done within the home, with no more effort required than putting on my trainers and comfy, stretchy, layered clothing. Exercising at home is just as effective as doing it at the gym.