Expert advice Top 10 exercise myths

These are the top 10 exercise myths that don't ever seem to go away despite the wide-array of science and expertise that prove them wrong.

We continuously believe fad diets, celebrity health talk and other tid bits of (false) knowledge making us continuously fall victim to these silly fitness fables. Although some old fitness fictions, such as "no pain, no gain" and "spot reducing" are fading fast, plenty of popular exercise misconceptions still exist and you may be following one without knowing it.

Exercise Myth 1
You Will Burn More Fat If You Exercise Longer at a Lower Intensity. The faster you walk, step or run the more calories you use per minute. However, high-intensity exercise is difficult to sustain if you are just beginning or returning to exercise, so you may not exercise very long at this level. It is safer, and more practical, to start out at a lower intensity and work your way up gradually.

Exercise Myth 2
If You're Not Going to Work Out Hard and Often, Exercise Is a Waste of Time. Research continues to show that any exercise is better than none. For example, regular walking or gardening for as little as an hour a week has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease.

Exercise Myth 3
Crunches will get rid of your fat belly. You cannot pick and choose areas where you would like to burn fat. In order to burn fat, you should create a workout that includes both cardiovascular and strength training elements. This will decrease your overall body fat content.

Exercise Myth 4
You should never eat before a workout. "Fuel" from food and fluids is required to provide the energy for your muscles to work efficiently, even if you are doing an early morning workout. Consider eating a small meal or snack one to three hours prior to exercise.

Exercise Myth 5
Exercise Is One Sure Way to Lose All the Weight You Desire. As with all responses to exercise, weight gain or loss is impacted by many factors, including dietary intake and genetics. Although exercise alone cannot guarantee your ideal weight, regular physical activity is one of the most important factors for successful long-term weight management.

Exercise Myth 6
If You Want to Lose Weight, Stay Away From Strength Training Because You Will Bulk Up. Most exercise experts believe that cardiovascular exercise and strength training are both valuable for maintaining a healthy weight. Strength training helps maintain muscle mass and decrease body fat percentage.

Exercise Myth 7
Exercise turns fat into muscles. Fat and muscle tissue are composed of two entirely different types of cells. While you can lose one and replace it with another, the two never "convert" into different forms.

Exercise Myth 8
The Health and Fitness Benefits of Mind-Body Exercise Like Tai Chi and Yoga Are Questionable. In fact, research showing the benefits of these exercises continues to grow. Improved flexibility, balance, coordination, posture, strength and stress management are just some of the potential results of mind-body exercise.

Exercise Myth 9
Overweight People Are Unlikely to Benefit Much From Exercise. Studies show that obese people who participate in regular exercise programs have a lower risk of all-cause mortality than sedentary individuals, regardless of weight.

Exercise Myth 10
You have to sweat to have a good workout. Sweating is not necessarily an indicator of exertion-sweating is your body's way of cooling itself. It is possible to burn a significant number of calories without breaking a sweat: try taking a walk, or doing some light weight training, or working out in a swimming pool.

About Sophia Yasmin. Now based in India, master trainer Sophia Yasmin has spent over 14 years in the fitness industry worldwide. She has developed a reputation amongst fitness enthusiasts in London, Melbourne and Singapore as a high energy, challenging, and witty fitness instructor, who is always the inspiration of her incredible classes. She has trained extensively on every exercise, on every piece of equipment, and has received in-depth instruction on how to teach at all levels of difficulty and for all body types. (Image courtesy: Sophia Yasmin).

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