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7 Common Exercise Myths Revealed

Fitday Editor
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Myth #1: To have a good workout means you have to work up a sweat

Sweating cools the body and has very little to do with how many calories you are burning or how hard you are working. Many people work at a high intensity yet don't do a lot of sweating. Monitor your "perceived exertion" or monitor your heart rate during exercise to gauge your level of intensity.

Myth #2: No pain, no gain

Exercise doesn't need to be painful in order for it to provide lots of health benefits. Studies have shown that those who do moderate intensity exercise have the same decrease in risk of dying as those who do high intensity exercise. Make sure you are consistent with your exercise and pick up the pace so that you are working in your target heart rate zone (70%-80% of your max heart rate) and/or walking at 3 to 4 miles per hour.

Myth #3: To get a flat stomach do lots of crunches

You can have strong abdominal muscles but if there is a layer of fat on top, you won't be able to see a flat, toned stomach. Unfortunately we can't target fat loss in specific areas of the body. To get a toned, flat ab area, reduce the number of calories you consume, do cardiovascular exercise to burn calories and fat and do a variety of core exercises.

Myth #4: Exercise will transform fat into muscle

Exercise can burn off fat, and it can help you build lean muscle, but there is no direct conversion. If you do an exercise program that includes cardiovascular exercise, strength training and eat 500 fewer calories than you require each day, you will burn the fat and build healthy muscle.

Myth #5: If you can't exercise regularly, why do it?

Every single bit of exercise is beneficial. Your health improves every time you exercise. To become physically fit can take up to twelve weeks but a single 30 minute walk will burn calories, reduce moderately elevated blood sugar, blood pressure or triglycerides.
For substantial health benefits, adults should do at least 2 hours and 30 minutes a week of moderate-intensity exercise. That's only 22 minutes a day!

Myth #6: You should stretch before exercise to prevent injury

Some research suggests that stretching before exercise doesn't prevent sports injuries and can actually increase the chance of injuries. Warming up before exercise is one of the best ways to prevent injury. Warm up with ten minutes of light cardio exercise and then continue with the rest of your exercise program. Stretch your muscles after you are done.

Myth #7: You have to join a gym to get in shape

There are lots of ways to get great results exercising at home. For very little money you can set up a simple home gym with your choice of dumbbells, exercise tubing, a TRX suspension trainer, a stability ball, exercise videos and walking.

Maria Faires, RD is a Registered Dietitian, Personal Trainer, Advanced Health and Fitness Specialist and freelance writer based out of Sammamish, WA. Maria is considered to be one of Western Washington's premier fitness and nutrition experts. As the owner of Active Nutrition Fitness & Consulting, Maria provides highly personalized nutrition services, personal training and preventative and post-rehabilitative fitness programming in her private training studio. She also provides Skype, phone and online nutrition counseling and training for remote clients. Maria leads the industry in the development of cutting edge fitness and nutrition techniques as well as innovative and unique fitness programming. Maria expertly designs every workout, nutrition plan and provides the personal attention, extra motivation, support and accountability that helps her clients achieve optimal performance and health. Contact or read more about Maria at

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