Buying into some commonly held fitness beliefs may keep you from making the most of your workouts – or even lead to injury. Experts debunk six persistent myths.
Myth #1 – You can target fat loss in certain areas.
To shrink a specific area, you must lose overall body weight, says physical therapist Kellen Scantlebury, owner of Fit Club NY. To burn more, do exercise that uses multiple muscle groups, such as walking.
Myth #2 – Your workouts should last at least a half-hour.
Get at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week. You can do 30 minutes, five days a week or get the same benefits by breaking it into three 10-minute sets on each workout day.
Myth #3 – Stretch before exercise.
No evidence shows it reduces your risk of injury. In fact, stretching cold muscles may cause injury. Warm up with light cardio to prep muscles for activity, and stretch after working out to increase flexibility
Myth #4 – Lifting weights adds bulk.
Unless you’re doing a special body-building workout, strength training won’t bulk you up. It will build lean muscle, which can speed your metabolism and help you lose weight.
Myth #5 – No pain, no gain.
A little muscle soreness is normal, but intense or lingering pain is a sign you’ve done too much. Take a break and scale back your time and intensity.
Myth #6 – Having arthritis means you shouldn’t push yourself.
A small study found that high-intensity interval workouts (alternating hard and easy effort) didn’t worsen pain; it did improve fitness in women withinflammatory arthritis. But it’s important to listen to your body. – SHARON LIAO