7 Popular Fitness Myths - Debunked – Bellabeat

7 Popular Fitness Myths - Debunked

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Image of woman looking determine and exercising

There’s no time like Spring to bring those old exercise routines out of hibernation.

Part of building a healthy lifestyle is creating a fitness routine that suits your body. Naturally, the optimal approach to reaching well-being is always holistic - it’s not just fitness or nutrition. It’s a collection of different aspects of your lifestyle that ultimately dictate your quality of life - and that’s why we like to say you need to take care of your body, mind, and soul.

Remember not to overwhelm yourself by trying to drastically change everything at once, in fact, that could end up being counter productive and lower your motivation. Take things one step at a time, for example, fitness.


Fitness, and building a healthy fitness routine starts with… some mythbusting!


There’s a lot of fitness gurus popping up around the world, and a lot of (fake) news being shared as fact. We collected a list of 7 fitness myths you might have heard before and we’re ready to change myths into hard facts.


Here’s what you heard:

Image of woman doing yoga and a woman running

NO PAIN, NO GAIN.

Let's nip this one in the bud. It’s one of the most infamous misconceptions that fitness gurus like to invoke like the holy grail. Exercising is hard? You’re in pain? Oh boohoo, no pain, no gain. But actually, no pain… still a whole lot of gain! You’re meant to believe that in order for your fitness or exercise regime to work you need to not just be uncomfortable (which is a normal feeling when you’re sticky and tired) but that it’s supposed to physically hurt. There are just too many levels on which this is wrong. For starters, someone might ignore the pain they feel during activity, considering it a normal part of exercising for gain, which could just further complicate a potential health issue. It’s also the completely wrong approach. You should always listen to your body instead of pushing it into extremes and stressing it out. If something feels painful when you exercise, please consult a professional. (And by that, we mean a medical professional, not just a fitness expert.)



YOU NEED TO SWEAT FOR 45 MINUTES TO GAIN HEALTH BENEFITS FROM A WORKOUT.

While that sounds like a nice number, so it’s no wonder people decided to cling to it, it’s actually false. There is no evidence you need a 45-minute sweat session in order to reap benefits for your health. In fact, studies have shown that even short 10 or 30-minute exercise sessions can do you a world of good, and some have even started promoting shorter exercise sessions rather than longer ones. In research published last year by Arizona State University, people who split their daily walk into three 10-minute segments had consistently lower blood pressure readings on average, than those who took one 30-minute stroll per day. Basically, in order to keep up your general health, almost any amount of time is good enough, however, if you’re trying to build a fitness habit or get in shape you’ll still need to add some extra activities on top of that. Everyone is unique and different, so to know the best exercise regime for your body we recommend consulting a professional. The generic recommendation for some fabulous slim-down effects is 3-5 hours of moderate exercise per week.

 

THE MORE YOU SWEAT, THE MORE YOU BURN.

Do you find yourself feeling exceptionally drenched after your usual morning workout? Unfortunately, this doesn’t necessarily mean you ended up burning more calories than you normally do. The body sweats naturally, as a biological response that regulates internal body temperature and cools your skin. Which means that sweating could be caused by numerous things, other than your hard-core workouts, such as an overheated fitness studio, your personal physiology, the weather or even a reaction to drinking hot beverages when it’s warm outside. While sweating is a good indicator that your body is heating up and burning calories, it’s not really the ideal way to determine the positive effects of your workout.



THE BEST TIME TO WORK OUT IS FIRST THING IN THE MORNING.

Do you know when the best time to work out is? Whatever time works best for you! There’s no specific time of day that will magically give you more health benefits. If you’re trying to build a fitness habit, and a regular exercise routine, it would be best to choose the time of day you usually have the most free time in. That way you can exercise at the same time of the day, consistently, which is a key aspect of building a habit. Do you feel more like a late-night exercise bunny? Great, hit the gym in the evening! Are you feeling exceptionally motivated for a run every morning? Awesome, do a lap around your neighborhood to start the day!


Image of woman drinking water at the gym and a salad bowl

 

EXERCISE IS THE BEST WAY TO LOSE WEIGHT.

The favorite mantra of any fitness guru trying to sell you their exercise packages online. Naturally, it’s wrong again. Exercise is just one of the aspects of getting in shape and losing weight - if that is your goal. No matter how much you exercise, if you don’t take care of the other aspects of your health you won’t be able to reach your end-goals. For example, if you’re exercising to lose weight, you absolutely need to combine fitness with nutrition. If you’re not keeping track of the food you’re consuming, no matter how much you exercise, you might not be losing the kind of weight you want or in the areas you want. The same thing goes for overall well-being. If you’re working towards reaching your ideal life balance, just exercising isn’t going to be enough. It’s a combination of fitness, nutrition and mental balance, which is why, from the start, we incorporated the different aspects into our wellness trackers and accompanying app.



REST DAYS AREN’T NECESSARY.

Rest days ARE necessary. The same way your body and mind need sleep to rest and recharge for a new day, your muscles need to rest as well. In fact, by not taking rest days you’re increasing the potential for joint pain, stress fractures and muscle strains, but the effects are not only physical, it can also cause hormone imbalance, extreme fatigue and mood swings. It’s actually recommended you take a day or two off after an intense workout regime - naturally, that doesn’t mean laying on your couch, watching Netflix and overdosing on popcorn. You should still incorporate some movement during your rest days in order to stay active and limber, for example, why not take a nice walk in nature? Light on the activity, beautiful because of the scenic experience.


EXERCISING IN THE EVENING WILL KEEP YOU AWAKE.

Maybe you’ve been suggested to only do some light yoga or stretching before bed - because if you do any more intense activity you won’t be able to sleep… Big misconception! While it might seem like getting your blood pumping and heart rate jumping during exercise would just keep you awake longer, and make falling asleep harder, it’s actually the opposite! According to sleep expert, Professor Youngstedt from the University of California, exercise is just as effective as sleeping pills in helping insomniacs get those quality Zzz’s and visit Lala land. Perhaps it might come as a bit of a surprise, but according to him, outdoor exercise is also more effective with aiding in sleep problems than doing indoor exercise would be. However, as everyone is different, he also gave some quality advice you should keep in mind -- “People should experiment for themselves to see whether exercise promotes better sleep.” So, try it, and see how it works for you!



Not enough yet? Here are two more bonus facts.

 

Image of woman exercising at the gym

FALSE: WOMEN SHOULDN’T GO TO THE GYM, BECAUSE THEY’LL END UP AS BUFF AS A MAN.

We decided to not completely count this as a myth, but rather a discriminatory thought meant to shame women away from using the gym. Why? Because we’re sick and tired of hearing it! First of all, you won’t just get buff from going to the gym. It doesn’t work like that. You don’t walk into the gym once a day for 2 weeks and suddenly you can use your biceps as liferafts. It’s a lot of supplements, work and dedicated, targeted exercises that will get you looking like one of the fitness buffs you see around. The gym has a lot of different equipment and exercise options that can help you target any area of the body you want to shape up or build up. That’s why, let's say it all together, the gym is for everybody - men, women, and anyone in between! And secondly... why are you making buff women sound like a problem? This sentence and those similar are used in such a way that it always seems like a derogatory remark, and we’re 100% over it! Do what feels right for your body and for the lifestyle you want to lead. If that’s building abs on abs, go for it, you’ll look gorgeous no matter what!



TRUE: SKIPPING SLEEP CAN CAUSE WEIGHT GAIN.

Who would have thought, right? It just goes to show that your body is a perfect system, made to work best in harmony. When one thing is off, everything else will be off as well. As surprising as it sounds, in an American Journal of Epidemiology study women who slept less than seven hours daily were more likely to gain weight. Through other research, it’s been shown that even partial sleep deprivation will increase production of the hormone ghrelin which triggers hunger. You might have heard before that getting enough sleep is not just good for health but for weight loss, and maybe that sounded like a myth to you… but, turns out it’s true! Just goes to show you that what’s fact and what’s myth might surprise you, so do some extensive research before believing any fitness facts you see shared around.



That’s it for our mythbusting today!

So, what’s the conclusion you can come to from this? You shouldn’t believe everything you’re told or read, online. Always do some additional research to see whether the things you discover are facts or myths.

And the second thing, hopefully, you could get from this is… don’t compare yourself to others. What works for someone, might not work for you. What works for you, might not work for someone else. Someone might have lost 30 pounds in a month, but that doesn’t mean you should push yourself to get the same result - because you probably won’t. Everyone has a different body type and metabolism. You should try different things, and stick to what feels right to you and your body. Don’t let some self-proclaimed fitness guru tell you what's right for you, based on some online questionnaire. And finally, don’t push yourself to reach some quick fixes and fast gains - they’re not healthy for your body, and the result is usually only temporary. Instead, build healthy habits at your speed.

You just need to believe in yourself and listen to yourself, and eventually, you’ll find the perfect pace for you.

 

After that, building your healthy habits is just a matter of time - and persistence!

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