5 Exercise Myths That Are Holding You Back

 Image via: vogue.co.uk

Image via: vogue.co.uk

Getting into a consistent exercise routine is a constant struggle for many people with sedentary lifestyles. There is a lot of false information out there, which can make starting a new workout incredibly confusing. To help clarify things a little, here are five commonly held exercise myths that are only holding you back.

Myth: Crunches Flatten Your Stomach

You can’t really spot-treat areas of your body. Doing all the crunches in the world isn’t going to make a difference in the flatness of your stomach unless you are also consuming less food and burning stored fat. So don’t expect crunches to whittle away your waist on their own. Actually, you may want to reconsider crunches altogether. The truth is, crunches are a pretty ineffective workout for your abs.

A better choice? Planks. While crunches only challenge your superficial abdominal muscles, planks address all of your core muscles, including the deep abdomen and glutes. Just make sure you are using proper form to reap the most benefits.

Myth: Lifting Weights Will Make You Bulky

This is a myth that mostly harms women. Many women are afraid that weight training will make them bulk out, but this certainly isn’t the case. Women have different quantities of hormones than men, so weight training has a different effect. The fact is, weight training is important for everyone, especially as you age. It improves bone density and reduces the inevitable loss of muscle mass that comes with aging. (By the time you’re 70, you only have about 50 percent of the muscle mass you had when you were in your prime.) Your muscles start to lose strength over time, so weight training at any age can help both men and women keep their bodies young and fit for longer.

 Myth: You Need To Find A Chunk Of Time To Get Good Workout In

Saying you don’t have time to workout is not an excuse anymore. You don’t need to lug yourself through a 90 minute workout to reap benefits. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a great way to build strength and stamina, and support weight loss, in a short window of time—in as little as 10 to 20 minutes. If you need some structure, there are plenty of free guides available on the web.

Myth: It’s All About The Calories

Many people hop on the treadmill because they know it’s going to burn a few hundred calories, but that’s not really the case. Everyone burns different amounts of calories, depending on body weight, metabolism and effort expended. There is no one-size-fits-all 400 calorie workout. But should workouts really be calorie-centric at all?

Instead of working out to burn off the calories from a pastry, choose to work out to feel healthier and stronger. It’s a dangerous cycle, eating junk food, then trying to burn it off in a panicked state. It’s simply not a healthy or sustainable way of living. Exercise to feel good, not to stave off dietary guilt. By separating your workouts from your diet, you’ll have a much healthier relationship with both.

Myth: Workouts Should Be Painful

No, no, no! While working out may be uncomfortable and challenging, it should never be painful.  If you are experiencing sharp pain when you exercise, take it down a notch and seek professional support. If a workout is mentally painful — ie. you hate doing it — that’s counterproductive as well. The most important thing about working out is that you enjoy yourself. If you are slogging through an hour-long cardio session that you hate, you’re probably not going to stick with it. Try incorporating fun activities like hiking, biking, tennis, swimming, or jogging with your dog into your workout regimen. It won’t even feel like “exercise” because you’re doing what you love!

Physical activity is important for everyone, but it can be tough to get started. For newcomers, find a trainer who can help you structure a program to accomplish your goals while enjoying yourself. Then, run with it! What are some of your favorite ways to exercise your body?