8 Exercise Myths to Recognize — and Avoid

Chances are, you’ve heard these statements about exercising before – from friends, TV ads or even a fitness coach. But just because they sound believable doesn’t mean they’re good standard practices. In fact, some are actually harmful. Read on to find out what’s true — and what’s not.

And when your body is more fit, it naturally burns more calories and fat.

Banish These Fitness Myths for Good!8 Exercise Myths to Recognize — and Avoid - In Content

  1. Stretching before exercising reduces your risk of injury: Numerous studies show that stretching first doesn’t lessen your chances of injury. Does that mean you should skip stretching altogether? Not at all. In fact, stretching at other times, including after exercise or in the evening, can reduce the likelihood of injury.
  2. Walking a mile burns as many calories as running a mile: Walking is great exercise, but you may be surprised to find out that if you run a mile instead of walking, you’ll expend more calories — 40 percent more, in fact.
  3. Lactic acid causes acidosis and muscle fatigue during exercise: This popular misconception has been around for nearly a century. To fight acidosis — that burning sensation you feel during exercise — the best way is to work occasional bouts of high-intensity interval training into your exercise routine.
  4. Lower-intensity exercise puts you in the fat-burning zone, so it’s better than higher-intensity activity: If you use the latest fitness equipment, you’ve probably noticed guidelines showing different training zones for fitness and calorie burning. While it’s tempting to believe that you’ll burn more fat during low-intensity workouts, it’s simply not true. Want to burn calories? Work your way up to a moderate-intensity/higher-volume exercise program, and include interval training.
  5. Morning workouts increase metabolism better than workouts later in the day: Lots of people think that exercising before breakfast on an empty stomach will speed up weight loss. While it might help a little, it won’t make any real difference. Instead, focus on extending your workouts by 10 or 15 minutes each day to burn more calories.
  6. Muscle weighs more than fat: Not true. As you lose fat and gain muscle, your weight may not change much. But you’ll see yourself getting leaner — and your clothes will fit better, too.
  7. If you lift weights, you’ll end up looking bulky: Are you wary of lifting weights because you don’t want that muscle-bound look? Not to worry. Women naturally develop much less muscle mass than men. Regular weight lifting can help you avoid back problems. It also helps prevent osteoporosis, which makes your bones weak and more likely to break.
  8. The best reason to exercise is to burn calories: Focus on fitness instead of burning calories. It's true that exercise expends calories, but even more important, it keeps you fit. And when your body is more fit, it naturally burns more calories and fat.
Small Steps: Drink a cup of tea.
Trading in your morning coffee for a cup of tea can give your immune system an extra boost. Increased immunity helps reduce inflammation, which is thought to be involved in osteoarthritis.