However, as technology continues to improve and research continues to expand, more fitness and healthcare experts are starting to realize that many of the fitness myths we’ve believed for years are not actually valid.
In fact, some fitness myths that have been floating around have been found to have adverse effects on our bodies and health, and should generally be avoided. If you’ve been faithfully practicing some of these myths and are failing to see weight-loss results, it could be because your actions are having the opposite effect of what is desired.
Here are the truths behind five of the most common fitness myths:
Myth: Stretching before workouts will prevent injury
Truth: According to new scientific evidence, static stretching before your workouts will not prevent injury, and could lead to impaired strength and speed in some athletes. As a result, stretching before workouts may slightly increase your risk for injury as a result of having decreased strength. So if you’ve been trained to stretch before your workouts, you may want to omit this routine from your workout and see if you notice a difference in your strength and speed while exercising.
Myth: Workouts must be between 45 and 60 minutes to see weight-loss results
Truth: New evidence shows that those who perform shorter, more intense bursts of interval exercises are more successful at losing weight and are able to burn a higher amount of calories. Workouts that last between 25 and 40 minutes are often more effective than long bouts of endurance training that last between 45 minutes and an hour. For example, if you use a treadmill, do 30 minutes of a high-intensity interval-training program to burn more calories instead of jogging at a slow, steady pace for 45 minutes.
Myth: Jogging and running is bad for your knees
Truth: For years, many have said that those who jog and run will experience joint and knee pain later in life as a result of having placed the extra strain on these areas. However, new evidence is showing that the knees of older individuals who have jogged and ran all their lives are no less healthy than those who don’t run. Joggers and runners of all ages can actually help prevent joint and knee pain from occurring by wearing proper, high-quality running shoes.
Myth: Stomach crunches are the best exercise for toning abs
Truth: There are several more effective ways to tone your abs than doing stomach crunches. In fact, fitness experts have proven that crunches actually burn very few calories, and can put you at risk for injury if you use improper form. Stop doing stomach crunches and stop buying commercial “ab” products frequently seen on television. Instead, do exercises that work out your entire core, such as bridge and plank exercises.
Myth: The more you sweat, the more calories you’ll burn
Truth: Do you burn the number of calories needed when lying in the sun reading a book? Sweating is your body’s physiological response to being overheated and occurs when your body needs to regulate its temperature and cool down its skin. Sweating profusely doesn’t necessarily mean you’re burning more calories — it just means that your body is hot. It’s actually ideal that you sweat throughout your workouts because it means you’re exerting yourself and working hard, but it doesn’t always mean that you’re losing more weight.