Fitness Myths Debunked

The abundance of information available surrounding fitness can cause confusion. When you encounter conflicting statements and recommendations, it can be challenging to know what’s true. Even scientific studies can present seemingly opposite information, making matters worse.

Our providers at Nova Physician Wellness Center want to set the record straight. Board-certified physicians Rohit Suri, MD, Seema Chaudhary, MD, and our team of clinical experts want to ensure that you have accurate information regarding fitness so that you stay well-informed.

Myth #1: It’s best to exercise in the morning

If you’ve discussed fitness with your friends, family, or colleagues, you’ve likely heard the recommendation to exercise first thing in the morning. The idea behind exercising early is rooted in the belief that doing so will jumpstart your metabolism for the rest of the day.

While exercise can modestly increase calorie burn, this effect does not last all day. You can obtain calorie-boosting benefits from exercise even if you hit the gym in the evening.

Myth #2: Using a treadmill eases stress on the knees compared to running on pavement

Cardiovascular exercise such as running and jogging is beneficial to your health, but it can take a toll on your knees. When you run, your body weight can cause stress on your joints. For this reason some fitness enthusiasts recommend running on a treadmill instead of pavement to ease pressure on the joints.

The truth is, the stress to your joints is the same whether you’re running on pavement or a treadmill. Mixing up running with a less jarring activity, such as swimming, is the best way to reduce the stress on your joints.

Myth #3: Crunches bust belly fat

The ability to target your core abdominal muscles with a type of sit-up called crunches is a prevalent myth that has been around for a long time. Unfortunately, there is no way to specifically reduce fat in the abdomen with sit-ups. This means it is impossible to crunch your way to a six pack.

When you lose weight, the body burns fat throughout the body. Your genetics have some influence on how to store, distribute, and use fat. You can’t pick and choose which areas burn fat from exercise. Your best bet for weight loss and overall fitness is to follow a workout that combines aerobic activity with strength training.

Myth #4: Aerobics speed up your metabolism for several hours

It is true that aerobic activity gets your heart pumping and increases your metabolism, but the calorie-burning boost is not as significant as you may think. Engaging in 30-45 minutes of aerobic activity causes a marginal increase in metabolism.

Aiming to exercise most days of the week, varying your workout, and adopting a nutritious diet is a good way to maximize your metabolism.

Myth #5: Machines are a safer way to exercise

Machines can certainly make life easier. Exercise machines put your body in the right positions and help you go through movements correctly. However, this doesn’t make machines safer than other kinds of workouts. Mistakes in form and the risk of injury are the same regardless of whether you use a machine or not.

Learning how to use correct form when exercising and taking precautions to prevent injuries will keep you on the right track.

Myth #6: Lifting heavy weights causes you to bulk up too much

Unless you’re looking to bulk up, you may have heard that you should avoid lifting heavy weights. It may seem logical when you look at bodybuilders who lift heavy weights, but in truth, weight training alone won’t make you bulky.

Weight training has a variety of benefits. For one, it increases bone density, thereby reducing your risk of osteoporosis. It may improve your athletic performance and can help you manage your weight. There’s no need to avoid hitting the weights. Unless you're strategically lifting heavier weights with bodybuilding goals, your muscles won’t get too big.

The team at Nova Wellness Center offers a wide range of services, including exercise plans and nutrition counseling to help keep you healthy and fit. We have offices in Fairfax, Ashburn, and Vienna, here in Virginia. Call the office nearest you to schedule your appointment or use our online booking. 

The path to optimal wellness is just a click or phone call away. Start your journey today.

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