There are many well-grounded popular beliefs circulating with regards to physical exercise. In this article, we will try to examine the 7 most tenacious myths that we have found.
1. Stretching prevents the risk of injury
An increasing number of studies show that, contrary to popular belief, stretching before exercising does not prevent the risk of injury.
Static stretching does not prevent injuries or muscle aches. It is recommended to warm up slowly and gradually in order to reach a level of intensity comparable to that of the planned exercise.
Static stretching, which consists of staying on the spot and stretching the muscles of your arms, legs and back must be distinguished from active stretching (warm-up). The latter is used by high-level athletes, who can be seen jumping or taking long strides before their competition, and it focuses on movement rather than simple stretching.
2. Women should lift dumbbells in order to have bigger muscles
Two hormones are needed to gain muscle volume: growth hormones (HGH) and testosterone. Women have less of the latter, so they cannot hope to develop significant muscle mass without steroids.
This myth is so tenacious that some women mistakenly believe they are growing their muscles thanks to dumbbells. In fact, it is more the exercises that inform the development of certain muscles, which respond to external resistance. Whether paddling, swimming or running, muscles will adapt to the task and develop accordingly.
But the dumbbells have nothing to do with muscular development. Women do not have to worry about dumbbells. One of the great benefits of bodybuilding is that it helps prevent loss of bone mass and, therefore, osteoporosis.
3. It is possible to exercise by targeting the places where the fat accumulates
Experts have long thought that the burning sensation in a strained muscle meant that the fats present there were about to be burned. That is not true. The loss of localized fat has never been proven.
The burning sensation in the thighs or abdominals is a simple chemical reaction. A contracted muscle does not necessarily use the nearby fat to produce energy. It's the brain that decides where the fat molecules come from, and they can come from anywhere.
4. It is recommended to consume protein bars and drinks after a workout
With moderate-intensity physical activity, natural or little-processed foods, such as fruits, are sufficient to obtain protein, but also minerals and vitamins that are often lacking in protein foods.
This is not the case for athletes looking for muscular and cardiovascular performance. There is a 30-minute window to rapidly consume the proteins found within protein bars and drinks.
5. Weight loss is guaranteed with a good workout
After exercise or a workout, it is quite possible to retain the same body weight as before. A person can lose 2 pounds of fat but gain 2 pounds of lean mass in muscle or water, for example.
In addition, the many physiological benefits associated with physical exercise should not be underestimated. Cardiovascular and muscular workouts decrease insulin resistance in diabetics – thus reducing blood sugar – and lower blood pressure. A good workout can also increase the number of HDL receptors (good cholesterol).
All of these things improve with a loss of weight of just 5% to 10%. For a person who weighs 300 pounds, a 15-pound decrease can be significant.
6. You have to suffer when you exercise
Feeling discomfort and shortness of breath is normal when exercising. A person who starts a training program may very well see their condition improve without suffering. But to move to a higher level is different. An athlete will still have to suffer to surpass themselves and continue to progress. Training must become more difficult. The importance is above all to train with intelligence in order to avoid getting hurt.
7. Exercise on a daily basis outweighs your binging
You can’t just eat anything because you train 30 to 45 minutes a day. In this era of the increasingly more sedentary lifestyle, both at home and at work, it is very easy to get the lost calories back. All specialists will tell you that a good workout must be coupled with a healthy diet. The human is an excellent machine of storing calories, but not of spending them.
An hour's walk is necessary to burn 300 calories. If, after exercise, you eat a dozen almonds (10 calories each), a soft bar (120 calories) and wash it down with a glass of wine at the end of the evening, the hour of exercise will have been for nothing.