It’s a new year - and as we mentioned last week, there are some serious diet and weight loss myths that can interfere with anyone’s healthy living efforts each January. Unfortunately, if you’re looking to make a healthy change, it isn’t enough to research “diet myths”. Quite a few wives' tales exist about exercise, too!
To help our wonderful Genesis family avoid the pitfalls that come with the most prevalent exercise myths, we decided to examine a handful of common ones that you should ditch right now. We of course recommend doing research into your own routine if necessary to see if there are any myths we couldn’t cover - but otherwise, the following are great things for beginning and long-time exercisers to keep in mind:
1) You don’t need to sweat to get a good workout. Many people believe that sweating is the #1 sign that they’re getting a great workout into their day. But sweating isn’t really a sign that you’re working hard - it’s just something the human body does as it overheats. In the right conditions, it’s entirely possible to burn calories without breaking a sweat. This means you should never push yourself into a sweat just to ensure you’re getting in a good workout - instead, use your heart rate to figure out if you need to step it up a notch or not.
2) Pain does not equal gain. The “no pain, no gain” myth is one of the most harmful exercise myths out there. While it’s fairly normal to experience some soreness a day or two after a workout, soreness during a workout is an indicator of trouble. If you experience pain during a workout, you are likely using the wrong technique - or, you’re already injured, and your body is warning you to slow down. Never continue through pain that you experience during a workout. Experts recommend taking a break to see if any workout-related pains go away. If not, and/or if the pain grows worse during a workout, schedule an appointment with your doctor to find out what’s wrong.
3) Any exercise is better than none. Some people hold off on exercising in the hopes that they’ll one day have time to buy a gym membership and exercise regularly for long stretches of time. This is unnecessary: experts and studies agree that any exercise is better than none. In fact, a quick 20 minute walk a day can be quite beneficial - and even that can be split up into smaller increments if necessary!
4) Working out WILL help you lose weight - in the long run. Many people actually avoid some kinds of workouts because they worry that strength training in particular will lead to weight gain due to increased muscle mass. The reality is that any diet and exercise efforts need time to take effect - so not experiencing fast and instant weight loss is rarely the fault of a workout routine. And many experts caution that without exercise, you’re likely to lose fat and muscle. Not only does this ineffectively address fat loss and take away muscle strength, but this could lower your overall metabolic rate, leading to less weight loss! Workouts and exercises that help target muscles throughout your body are not the enemy - and are worth investing in.
5) Exercise doesn’t immediately take off the pounds. Just as cutting calories alone doesn’t cut the pounds immediately, exercise doesn’t instantly take inches off your waistline. The true benefits of exercise begin to kick in over a long haul - because, as your body grows familiar with your workout routines, you’ll be able to step up your game and invest in more intense, longer workouts. Much more important than the weight loss are the immediate health benefits of regular exercise - so even if the scale isn’t budging that quickly, don’t be afraid to keep on walking, lifting weights, doing yoga...anything that helps to get your heart rate up and get you moving!
If you’re ready to begin living a little healthier this year, please make sure that myths like these aren’t holding you back! A quick check-in with your doctor and an examination of your healthy living goals will ultimately be the fastest way to help you find a routine that works for you now and in the months to come.