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FITNESS AND EXERCISE: MYTH VS. FACT

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There exists an abundance of "myths" concerning exercise and fitness. These are a few of them: 

MYTH: Exercise must be very vigorous to achieve weight loss. 
FACT: Any exercise no matter how vigorous it is, can increase your daily calorie expense. Together with sensible eating, even moderate exercise like walking can help in losing or controlling weight if done on a consistent

MYTH: All types of exercise increase your appetite. 
FACTResearch has shown that appetite is actually more manageable after some types of exercise. Moderate activity that lasts less than an hour may reduce your appetite for an additional hour or two. However intense exercise that lasts an hour or more can increase appetite. 

MYTH: If you exercise, you can eat all you want and still lose weight. 
FACTIf you are consistently taking in more calories than you expend, you will not lose weight. Individual metabolic rate, activity level, heredity and type of diet can all be important variables in the matter of weight control.

MYTH: The best way to improve your fitness level is to exercise vigorously every day. 
FACTMore is not always better. Your body needs time to recover between intense exercise sessions. If you do not allow the muscles adequate time to recover, you risk overtraining and possible injury. 

MYTH: Abdominal exercises like trunk curls and sit-ups will trim the fat off your stomach. 
FACTSpot reduction, or burning fat off just selected body parts, is not possible. Performing hours of countless sit- ups and twists do not burn off fat around the stomach. They exercises only work the muscles that are underneath the fat. Fat is burned off from the entire body at the same rate.  Of course, the areas which hold the most body fat will lose the most in the end. 

MYTH: If you stop exercising your muscle turns to fat. 
FACT: Muscle will never turn into fat. Muscle is muscle and fat is fat. Muscle turning to fat would be similar to wood turning to metal. Training and exercise can increase the size or tone of muscles while de- training may reduce their size and tone. Fat cells can shrink when your body burns more calories than you take in, and grow when they store more fat. 

MYTH: Once you get older, exercise has no benefit. 
FACTSeniors can derive great health and fitness benefits from regular activity and exercise. In fact, their quality of life can be greatly improved as a result of such consistent activity. Increased flexibility and stronger muscles and bones help seniors get around more easily. Regular car- diopulmonary activity also helps keep the heart and lungs strong. In addition, increased activity levels help compensate for the natural slowing of metabolism with age and can help control weight. 

MYTH: You can get fit in only 5-10 minutes a week. 
FACTUnfortunately, this is just not so. To achieve a moderate level of fitness, one should be pre­ pared to devote at least 2-3 days a week, 15-20 minutes each session. 

MYTH: The more you sweat during exercise, the faster you will lose body fat. 
FACTMost of the weight lost through sweat is water weight. Excessive sweating can have dangerous side effects, including, but not limited to, dehy­dration. 

MYTH: Drinking water or other fluids during activity will cause stomach cramps. 
FACTThis is untrue. In fact, if you do not drink water during intense activity, you actually risk cramping up, as well as serious injury from dehydration. Cold water is recommended over warm water, due to its faster rate of gastric emptying. 

MYTH: No pain, no gain. 
FACTThis philosophy can eventually lead you to injury and overtraining. Pain is not, and should not be, a normal part of exercise or training. If you experience pain during or after your exercise training, cease all activity for the day and if the pain persists, seek medical attention. Perhaps a better saying would be: "Less pain and strain, more gain!" 

MYTH: If your muscles are not sore after exercise, you didn't work hard enough. 

FACTAs with "no pain, no gain", soreness results from unfamiliar exertion or with training following a long layoff from exercise. With proper recovery from this stimulus, you will experience less soreness with each successive exposure. No need to be sore after every exercise session to improve one's fitness levels.

MYTH: Hard-training exercisers need a high-protein diet. 
FACTThe optimal diet for a hard-training athlete should consist mostly of carbohydrates. High protein diets can cause negative effects for the human body, including kidney problems. 

MYTH: You do not have to stretch if you are fit. 
FACTExercise sessions often result in shortened muscles, which can make them prone to muscular strain injuries. The more physical activity you engage in, the more time you should devote to flexibility work. 

MYTH: Vitamin supplements improve fitness and performance. 
FACTThere is no secret solution for improved physical fitness. Except in special cases, large amounts of these supplements are not necessary. 

MYTH: You should take salt tablets when you are sweating a lot. 
FACTWhen you sweat, you lose more water than salt. Consuming salt tablets will simply raise the sodium levels in your blood and may even increase the chance of heatstroke and blood clotting which could cause kidney failure, blindness, heart attack, and stroke. Only take salt tablets under a doctor's supervision.