5 ex­er­cise myths busted!

Prevention (Australia) - - In This Issue - BY BLAKE MILLER

Com­mon fit­ness fala­cies re­vealed so you can focus on the im­por­tant stuff

The sci­ence be­hind “feel the burn” and other fit­ness fal­la­cies

re­vealed so you can focus on the im­por­tant stuff.

Would it shock you to learn that you re­ally can go swim­ming right af­ter eat­ing a sand­wich – with­out cramp­ing and drown­ing? If so, you’ve been had by hearsay, a com­mon be­lief with no sci­ence be­hind it. We’ve dis­cov­ered five more rules about ex­er­cise that, on closer in­spec­tion, ac­tu­ally have no merit. MYTH #1 NO PAIN, NO GAIN MYTHBUSTER: Ex­er­cise shouldn’t hurt. Pe­riod.

If a trainer uses that cliche to mo­ti­vate you, find some­one else for your fit­ness ad­vice. Pain is your cue to stop, says chi­ro­prac­tor Joshua Koll­mann. “The body is equipped with a so­phis­ti­cated ner­vous sys­tem that alerts us to po­ten­tial da­m­age,” he says.

Mus­cle sore­ness is dif­fer­ent from pain, and is to be ex­pected af­ter a good work­out. It’s part of the mus­cle-strength­en­ing process, in which you stress your mus­cles just enough to cause mi­cro tears that your body quickly re­pairs. This sore­ness nor­mally hap­pens 24 to 48 hours af­ter ex­er­cise. Re­duce it with ice, el­e­va­tion or com­pres­sion.

MYTH #2 YOU CAN GET A SLIM BELLY WITH CRUNCHES

MYTHBUSTER: Do­ing sit-ups to burn belly fat seems log­i­cal but is phys­i­o­log­i­cally im­pos­si­ble. That’s be­cause ex­er­cis­ing a par­tic­u­lar part of your body burns kilo­joules all over, not just in the area you’re tar­get­ing. In a Chilean study, par­tic­i­pants per­formed one set of ap­prox­i­mately 1,000 leg presses three times a week us­ing only their non­dom­i­nant leg. The as­sump­tion might be that the ex­er­cised leg would be­come leaner than the other. On the con­trary: al­though re­searchers mea­sured an av­er­age re­duc­tion of 5 per cent in over­all fat mass among the par­tic­i­pants, al­most none of that fat loss came from the ex­er­cised leg.

MYTH #3 TO SEE REAL RE­SULTS,

YOU NEED TO WORK OUT FOR AT LEAST AN HOUR

MYTHBUSTER: Qual­ity mat­ters more than quan­tity. Re­search shows that a short bout of vig­or­ous ex­er­cise can de­liver the same ben­e­fits as a much longer work­out at a mod­er­ate pace. In a re­cent PLOS ONE study, adults who bi­cy­cled at high in­ten­sity for 10 min­utes three times a week for 12 weeks had the same uptick in fit­ness and car­dio­vas­cu­lar health as those who did 50 min­utes of mod­er­ately paced cy­cling. To hit that su­per­ef­fi­cient zone, ex­er­cise at about 80 per cent of your max­i­mum heart rate, says fit­ness ex­pert and trainer Kira Stokes. (De­ter­mine your max­i­mum rate by sub­tract­ing your age from 220.) MYTH #4 DO­ING LONG, SLOW STRETCHES BE­FORE EX­ER­CISE

CAN HELP PRE­VENT IN­JURY MYTHBUSTER: This type of warm-up – known as static stretch­ing – may ac­tu­ally make work­outs less ef­fec­tive, ac­cord­ing to re­search in the Scan­di­na­vian Jour­nal of Medicine & Sci­ence in Sports. “Stretch­ing be­fore ex­er­cise is im­por­tant, but it has to be the right kind of stretch­ing – dy­namic stretch­ing,” Koll­mann says.

A dy­namic stretch in­volves move­ment, so you warm up the mus­cle while you’re stretch­ing it – by do­ing, for ex­am­ple, a lunge with a torso ro­ta­tion. The key is mim­ick­ing a move­ment that will be part of your nor­mal work­out but do­ing it at a lower in­ten­sity, says Sarah Kusch, a per­sonal trainer. MYTH #5 STRENGTH TRAIN­ING IS BET­TER THAN CAR­DIO IF YOU’RE TRY­ING TO LOSE WEIGHT MYTHBUSTER: Car­dio­vas­cu­lar ex­er­cise burns more kilo­joules per minute than strength train­ing does, so it’s the clear choice when the goal is fat burn­ing and weight loss. In 2012,

Duke University re­searchers con­ducted a study com­par­ing the two types of ex­er­cise. They placed 119 over­weight peo­ple into one of three groups: car­dio, strength train­ing or car­dio com­bined with strength train­ing. Af­ter eight months, those who did car­dio re­duced their waist cir­cum­fer­ence and lost weight (and an av­er­age of 1.5 ki­los of that was fat). The strength-train­ing group added mus­cle but lost no fat. The group that did both lost fat, weight and cen­time­tres, but their work­outs were longer than the other groups’.

“Re­sis­tance train­ing is great for im­prov­ing strength and in­creas­ing lean body mass,” says study co-au­thor Dr Cris Slentz. “But if you’re over­weight and want to lose belly fat, car­dio ex­er­cise is the bet­ter choice, most likely be­cause it burns more calo­ries.”

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