Good Morning everyone! Fitness First -Rockville is happy to be blogging with you again after a short break due to the birth of our directors daughter. We can add a brown eyed little girl to our interests now!
During out hiatus, we had time to meet with many of our members to give advice and answer some questions before the new year. We collected the most common misconceptions we heard, and we found some expert advice to share.
The Danger of Exercise Myths
“Some myths are just harmless half-truths, but many others can actually be harmful,” says professional triathlete and personal coach Eric Harr, author of The Portable Personal Trainer. “They can cause frustration in working out and sometimes even lead to injury,” he notes.
One reason myths get started, says Harr, is that we all react to exercise a little differently. So what’s true for one person may not be true for another. “In this sense you sometimes have to find your own ‘exercise truths’ – the things that are true for you,” says Harr.
To help put you and your family on the path to a healthier, safer, and more enjoyable workout, we got the lowdown from several top experts on what’s true and what’s not when it comes to exercise tips.
Fitness Myth No. 1: Running on a treadmill puts less stress on your knees than running on asphalt or pavement.
“Running is a great workout, but it can impact the knees — and since it’s the force of your body weight on your joints that causes the stress, it’s the same whether you’re on a treadmill or on asphalt,” says Todd Schlifstein, DO, a clinical instructor at New York University Medical Center’s Rusk Institute.
The best way to reduce knee impact, says Schlifstein, is to vary your workout. “If you mix running with other cardio activities, like an elliptical machine, or you ride a stationary bike, you will reduce impact on your knees so you’ll be able to run for many more years,” says Schlifstein.
But can doing ab crunches help you to lose that belly fat? Experts say no. “You can’t pick and choose areas where you’d like to burn fat,” says Phil Tyne, director of the fitness center at the Baylor Tom Landry Health & Wellness Center in Dallas. So crunches aren’t going to target weight loss in that area.
“In order to burn fat, you should create a workout that includes both cardiovascular and strength-training elements. This will decrease your overall body fat content,” including the area around your midsection, he says.
Fitness Myth No. 3: An aerobic workout will boost your metabolism for hours after you stop working out.
This statement is actually true — but the calorie burn is probably not nearly as much as you think!
Harr says that while your metabolism will continue to burn at a slightly higher rate after you finish an aerobic workout, the amount is not statistically significant. In fact, it allows you to burn only about 20 extra calories for the day. While there’s a little bit more of a metabolic boost after strength training, he says, it’s still marginal.
Fitness Myth No. 4: Swimming is a great weight loss activity.
While swimming is great for increasing lung capacity, toning muscles, and even helping to burn off excess tension, Harr says the surprising truth is that unless you are swimming for hours a day, it may not help you lose much weight.
“Because the buoyancy of the water is supporting your body, you’re not working as hard as it would if, say, you were moving on your own steam — like you do when you run,” says Harr.
Further, he says, it’s not uncommon to feel ravenous when you come out of the water. “It may actually cause you to eat more than you normally would, so it can make it harder to stay with an eating plan,” he says.
The truth is that yoga can help with back pain, but it’s not equally good for all types.
“If your back pain is muscle-related, then yes, the yoga stretches and some of the positions can help. It can also help build a stronger core, which for many people is the answer to lower back pain,” says Schlifstein.
But if your back problems are related other problems (such as a ruptured disc) yoga is not likely to help, he says. What’s more, it could actually irritate the injury and cause you more pain. If you do have back pain, get your doctor’s OK before starting any type of exercise program.
More on the way Tomorrow!
We will share 5 more of these myths tomorrow, and we look forward to hearing some of the feedback our members have for us. The biggest danger of myths like these rest in not asking for clarification. No one goes out of their way to spread false information. When dealing with your health, however, would you really only want 50% of the information correct? Until next time, see you at the gym!