5 common myths about exercise

While some fitness myths, such as “no pain, no gain,” are fading fast, many myths about exercise still exist. Here are some common ones – and the truth about them.

Exercise is a waste of time unless you work out hard and often. This kind of thinking keeps a lot of people from sticking to an exercise program. Thirty minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, five times a week is all you need to maintain your weight and reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers. To lose weight, cut calories from your diet or exercise more. Walking, bicycling, and swimming are all good ways to exercise at a modest pace. Yoga is a completely gentle and safe workout. Some forms of yoga are physically and mentally difficult. While injuries are rare, staying in certain positions can cause nerve damage or back pain. Avoiding certain postures and changing others can make yoga safer for most healthy people – even pregnant women. As with any exercise, proper instruction is needed for a safe workout. If you have a health condition or are pregnant, talk with your doctor before trying yoga. You can lose all the weight you want just by exercising. Increasing physical activity is just one part of a successful weight-loss plan. You need to cut calories, too. How many pounds you lose may also depend on your genes. What works for one person may not work for another. Still, exercise is an important part of any weight-loss program, and it offers many other health benefits. You can “spot reduce” certain areas of your body. Truth be told, you can do a ton of crunches and sit-ups and never get chiseled abs. It’s not possible to burn off fat from one area of your body. Regular aerobic exercise, strength training, and a healthy diet is the best way to get rid of extra body fat. If you want to lose weight, don’t strength-train. It will make you “bulk up.” Experts advise both aerobic and strength-training exercises to maintain a healthy weight. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn – even when you’re not working out. This makes it easier to keep off the pounds. Also, try adding crunches, push-ups, lunges, and other exercises to your regular routine to build muscle. A fitness professional can help you create a strength-training routine that works for you. Only very intense strength training exercises combined with certain genetic factors leads to large muscles.

Remember, always talk to your doctor before you start any exercise program.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. How much physical activity do adults need? Accessed: 07/14/2010 National Institutes of Health. Weight-loss and nutrition myths. How much do you really know? Accessed: 07/14/2010 American Council on Exercise. ACE lists most common fitness myths. Accessed: 07/14/2010

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