- Mar 15, 2006
- Reaction score
These are the probably less-questioned of the nine myths listed in "Fitness Myths are Bad for Your Health," an article in the Autumn issue of Men's Style (Australia).
1. Myth: Doing sit-ups will protect you from hurting your back.
Fact: Wrong. Your abdominal muscles are divided into four groups: Rectus abdominus, or your six pack; external obliques, located on the side of your stomach, below your ribs; internal obliques, under your external obliques; and Transverse abdominus, which are wrapped around your stomach like a girdle.
Of these four the six pack is the least supportive of your back; its job is to bring your ribs closer to your hips.... In contrast your obliques and Transverse abdominus are the ones that contract and support your lower back when it is put under pressure.
One of the best ways to work these muscles and protect your back is by doing the plank exercise, where you lie on your stomach and bring your taught body onto your elbows and feet. Hold for 30 seconds. Four sets.
4. Myth: You burn more fat by exercising gently.
Fact: At a low intensity (slow walk) you do burn a high percentage of fat. However, your calorie expenditure is very low. As you increase the intensity of the exercise (fast walk or job) you decrease the percentage of fat that you burn but the total amount of calories that you use increases significantly. The result is that the higher intensity exercise burns a greater amount of body fat....
5. Myth: You only start burning fat after 20 minutes' exercise.
Fact: This is a very bad message to send out to people as they get the impression that short bouts of exercise are not beneficial. Our metabolism does not have an on or off switch. Except in very extreme circumstances, you are always burning a combination of fat, carbohydrate and protein, whether you are running for a bus, strolling on the beach or moving furniture. Breaking your exercise into smaller bouts (between 10 and 20 minutes) can be more beneficial for weight loss as you can exercise at a higher intensity for that time. Fifteen minutes in the morning and 15 minutes at night is a great way to start dropping the kilos. Remember: Any amount of exercise is a good amount.
6. Myth: If you don't lose weight, there's no point exercising.
Fact: Unfortunately, most people merely take up an exercise program to lose unwanted body fat and stop exercising if the kilos don't start to drop off. While physical activity can help you become leaner, the benefits of exercise do not stop there.
Improving your fitness level has been shown to reduce your chances of dying from a chronic disease. People who exercise have a reduced chance of having conditions such as high blood pressure, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, depression, osteoporosis, and arthritis.
This benefit of exercise is seen irrespective of what your diet is and how much body fat you are carrying. A recent study in Dallas showed that men who were skinny and unfit had a greater chance of dying early than those who were overweight and fit.
7. Myth: Light weights on your arms or legs increase the exercise benefit.
Fact: People who power-walk with small hand-held weights or weights strapped to their ankles are kidding themselves. "Don't bother!" says exercise physiologist Christine Amarego of the Heidelburg Repatriation Hospital in Melbourne.
"A recent study in The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness showed that adding ankle and hand weights did not significantly add to people's fitness or strength levels," Armarego says. "The extremity weights will only slow you down and make your exercise uncomfortable, and they don't add enough weight to give you the benefit of strength training."
Remember: Weights when walking is uncomfortable. And you look like a wiener.
8. Myth: Carbohydrates make you fat.
Fact: Not true. Carbohydrates are an essential part of our diet and give us energy to perform during the day. If you try to cut carbohydrates out of your diet completely you may find that your energy levels suffer during the day, as your brain and red blood cells rely on carbohydrate intake for glucose. Also, carbohydrates are an excellent source of B group vitamins, which are essential for proper metabolic health.
The reason carbohydrates have received such bad press lately is because for many years we have eaten too much of the wrong sort of carbohydrates, causing us to get fat.
Simply, avoid refined sources of carbohydrates, such as soft drinks, desserts, lollies, white bread, white flour and sugar.
Remember: No more danishes. Increase your intake of unrefined sources of carbohydrates, such as fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole-grain products.