Fitness Myths Busted!
Is it really necessary to spend hours working out in the gym or running on the treadmill in order to be fit?
The world is cluttered with all sorts of misconceptions – from dieting and nutrition myths to exercise and health myths, fitness myths are everywhere we turn. Let’s take a look at some of the popular ones:
MYTH: EXERCISE MAKES YOU HUNGRIER
FACT: The opposite is true. A Brazilian study found that exercise can help control your urge to overeat. It turns out that regular exercise can have a stabilising effect on blood sugar and insulin levels, which is what helps to curb cravings.
When you start a new fitness regime and feel that your appetite has increased, it’s sometimes a psychological effect. If you happen to have started on a new diet at the same time, that could also be a contributing reason.
Thirst is also sometimes misinterpreted as hunger, so ensure that you stay sufficiently hydrated as you increase your activity levels.
MYTH: THE LONGER YOU WORK OUT, THE BETTER YOUR RESULTS
FACT: There is such a thing called “over-exercising” – and it can be bad for you. A 2014 US study revealed that pushing too hard for an extended period of time may lead to “cardiac overuse injury” – in other words, a heart attack. Research has also shown that exercising in short, intensive bouts is actually more efficient for fitness than the standard guidelines which recommend a minimum of 30 minutes a day.
Fitness trends like TABATA and HIIT (high-intensity interval training) allow you to push yourself to your maximum capacity for a series of short bursts, but you don’t need to go to extremes to stay healthy. Every exercise affects the metabolic process and any amount of exercise is beneficial to lowering cardiovascular risk – the key is to be consistent. If you’re time-starved, 20 minutes of daily exercise at a moderate intensity (try yoga, walking, or cycling) is sufficient for long-term health benefits.
MYTH: DOING MORE CRUNCHES WILL GIVE YOU WASHBOARD ABS
FACT: Spot training is a recipe for failure. Increasing muscle definition anywhere on your body – whether it’s from your upper arms, thighs, or midsection – involves overall healthy weight loss (there’s no such thing as “targeted fat loss”).
Many people assume that the core is just about abdominal muscles or having a “6-pack”, but the term actually refers to all the muscles in and around the area of the abdominals and back. This comprises the rectus abdominis, the transverse abdominals, the obliques, the low back extensors, and the glute muscles.
There are many ways to build your core, but adding Pilates moves into your daily routine is a sure-fire way to engage your core muscles on the next level! “A typical Pilates class actually includes an overall body workout,” shares Pilates instructor, Zoya Holland, who teaches at The Yoga School.
The Pilates system focuses on building strength from the core, which effectively works up to improved overall fitness. Working your overall muscles helps to increase your metabolism, so combine body weight/strength training with your cardio workouts, and maintain a healthy, balanced diet to reap the core-strengthening benefits that will tighten your midsection.