Fitness myths are as common as old wives tales, and can have a detrimental effect on your workout routine and overall health. We listen to things others tell us about our health and fitness, and after hearing the same advise long enough, we begin to believe it, correct or not.
Some of the advice is harmless, but other times these commonly accepted half-truths can have a negative effect on your fitness regimen and overall health. Information appearing on WebMD details the top fitness myths which could derail your best efforts to get in top physical shape.
Fitness Myth 1: Using a Treadmill Puts Less Stress on the Knees Than Running on Asphalt
This is a common misperception made by many people who have inflammation in the knee tendons and joints. The bottom line is that it makes no difference how you run, even if the treadmill is equipped with a dampening board designed to reduce the stress on your knees. The end result is that you're still placing your full body weight on your knees, with the same potential to cause damage.
The best work around is to use a variety of different types of aerobic training equipment, and cross train your different muscle groups. Try using an elliptical machine or a stationary bike which will work your upper and lower body to relieve some of the strain which can result in damage and injury.
Fitness Myth 2: Ab Crunches Will Get Rid of Belly Fat
Abdominal equipment has been the rage on late night infomercials over the past decade, promising to get rid of those love handles. If only it were so easy and true. Experts advise you can't pick and choose where you want to lose fat, as your body will automatically control where fat is stored and lost based on metabolism and other factors over which we have no control.
The best way to get rid of unwanted belly fat, and health damaging visceral fat from all areas of the body is to begin a structured program of cardio aerobic training, coupled with a well balanced diet plan. Our body is well conditioned to take cues from the types of food we eat, as well as the length and type of physical activity we pursue. Eliminate sugar, refined carbs and trans fats from your menu and start a regular fitness routine to take advantage of the stimulating effects of improved diet and exercise.
Fitness Myth 3: An Aerobic Workout Boosts Metabolism for Hours
This myth is half true, as any type of physical activity which raises the heart rate will cause your metabolism to increase for several hours after you finish your routine. The problem is that the additional amount of calories you'll burn is likely far less than you may have hoped.
Exercise physiologists calculate that most people will burn an additional 20 calories in the post workout hours, so don't plan on any significant boost after you finish training. If your goal is to reap the health benefits of exercise, then you're on the right track with a solid, intense training session, but if you're looking to drop weight for your efforts, you're much better served by following a reduced calorie diet which includes plenty of fresh vegetables, lean protein and healthy monounsaturated and Omega-3 fats.
There's no shortage of fitness myths and ill formed advice on the best ways to use physical fitness to advance your health. Many myths are created by marketers looking to profit at your expense, and should be taken at face value. Common sense is always the best rule when it comes to your physical condition and better health.