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Published June 28, 2013 in Exercise & Fitness
Exercise Myths: BUSTED!
 
By Jill Armayor for DRS Health

1) If I do enough crunches, I will experience fat loss in my mid-section.

Unfortunately, there is no such thing as spot reducing. Performing resistance exercise for one area of your body will build muscle tone for that area. It will not help to burn fat only in that area. However, with regular cardiovascular exercise and resistance training for all of the muscles in the body, you will experience a positive change in body composition overall. This occurs by increasing your overall metabolism by burning more calories with physical activity and increasing your muscle mass, which will also speed your metabolism.

2) Strength training will make me bulk up.

Ask any personal trainer how many times they have heard this statement, especially from women. The amount of muscle that you would gain with regular resistance training would depend highly upon your genetic make-up and your gender. Women will not gain muscle mass like men do, and men who are tall and slim may have a more difficult time putting on muscle than one who has a shorter frame. Regardless, resistance training can help keep your bones strong and healthy and it can keep your metabolism revving, both of which are important in the aging process.

3) Stretching before exercise is crucial.

Stretching before exercise can actually make your muscles more susceptible to injury. It is better to do some light cardiovascular exercise to warm up your muscles, such as walking or cycling, before you start your exercise routine. Stretching is OK after you finish your workout.

4) If you aren’t sore, you didn’t work hard enough.

A painful workout will not get you better results than working smarter in the gym. In fact, it may increase your risk for developing an injury. Muscle soreness is a sign that you have micro-tears in your muscle that were caused by too much stress against your muscle tissue. It is best to perform your exercises at a reasonable speed with perfect form until the point of fatigue.

5) If you stop working out, your muscle will turn to fat.

Muscle tissue and fat are two different types of cells and muscle cannot turn into fat in healthy people. This myth probably originated from ex-athletes starting to look less toned with age. What actually happens is that when you stop working out, you lose muscle mass and gain fat.

6) Exercising once a week isn’t worth the effort.

If you are exercising with a particular goal in mind, like losing weight or preparing for an event like a triathlon, exercising one time per week probably won’t cut it. However, exercising even once a week can help you reduce your risk for heart disease. Exercising once a week will help you establish a baseline for building on your exercise routine later.

7) Weight gain is inevitable with age.

Weight gain is not inevitable with age, but it is likely because your metabolism slows down. If you don’t compensate by slightly cutting your calories, you may see some weight gain. Also, many people become less active with age, leading to less calories burned on a daily basis. If you were to continue your exercise and healthy eating habits with age, you may find that you do not experience weight gain as you get older.
 
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