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Top Fitness Myths

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By Jethro Wegener

There is so much information about fitness out there, with plenty of sources telling you what is right and what is wrong. However, not all of it is true. Some commonly held beliefs are actually wrong. Here are some top myths.

Cardio is King for Fat Loss
Perhaps one of the most popular fitness myths out there, this one is still believed by a lot of people. The general believe is that slow, steady rate cardio, such as jogging, burns calories is a great way to shed the pounds. This has been proven false. Studies show that high intensity interval training, or HIIT, is a much better way to lose that spare tire. The largest difference between jogging and HIIT in the amount of fat burned; after jogging, the body burns a negligible amount of calories, but with HIIT the body still burns calories, and at at an elevated rate. This effect allows you to continually burn fat at a faster rate even when you’re done working out.

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As a simple guide, try running for one minute or for a specified distance, and then walk or slowly jog for two minutes or for at least double the time it took you to run the distance.

It’s All About the Number on the Scale
For many people, when they talk about getting fit, they talk about losing weight. In fact, it is not uncommon to tell someone that they have ‘lost weight’ when they have slimmed down. This isn’t strictly true. When someone gets smaller with good diet and exercise, what matters most is not the fact that they are getting lighter, but that you’re losing body fat. It is entirely possible to keep dropping a lot of fat while your weight remains mostly constant. A better measure of progress is your body fat percentage. So, if you’re eating healthy and following a good workout routine, but not seeing the number on the scale dropping, don’t fret.

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Static Stretching Before a Workout
It’s something we’re all told to do. Before exercise, do some static stretching – such as bending down to touch your toes. Studies have proven this to be not a great idea. In fact, it has been shown to reduce your power and effectiveness of your muscles during a workout. In layman’s terms, your body reacts to it by tightening your muscles to prevent them from overstretching. This, in turn, means that the muscle is less effective. While static stretches after a workout are still a good idea, it’s a better idea to do dynamic stretches (jumping jacks, jogging on the spot, etc.) before.

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Ice Baths Work
The ice bath – submerging yourself in a bath filled with ice cubes after a workout. For years, athletes have sworn by this as a way to promote healing of the muscles. Soccer players, NFL superstars, runners, and all other kinds of athletes jump into a tubs of freezing cold water on a regular basis. Scientists tested this theory and found no basis for it. A test was run where half the group had an ice bath and the other half sat in lukewarm water. There was no discernible difference between the test groups, with each one hurting as much as the other the next day. So unless you really enjoy freezing cold water, it’s safe to give this one a miss.

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Running Hurts Knees
Many people believe that regular runners are more at risk of damaging their knee joints, due to the repeated shocks to the area. However, studies have shown that while runners are more susceptible to knee-overuse injuries like ‘runner’s knee’, there are fewer runners that require knee replacements than non-runners. Scientists believe that this is because the cartilage strengthens from regular overloading of the joint.

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