We all know that exercise is key to a healthy life and are reminded of this by every health forum, website, school, and doctor we visit. With so much information (and misinformation) floating around, I thought I’d debunk a few exercise-related rumors. The following are some workout rumors floating around in gyms and website forums alike, and the lowdown on which is fact and which is fiction.
1. Muscle will not turn into fat, and fat cannot turn into muscle. Fact or Fiction?
FACT: After someone stops exercising for a period of time, their muscle cells don’t simply morph into fat cells; rather, they shrink. This allows the body to conserve energy when a person’s daily activities don’t require as much muscle mass as they had required before. Similarly, fat tissue cannot turn into muscle. When someone starts to exercise and lift weights, fat cells shrink while muscle cells grow.
2. Stretching and warming up before any physical activity is not necessary because the muscles warm up as you get active.
FICTION: Stretching and/or warming up is indeed a necessary component to any physical activity. It greatly reduces the severity of what exercise gurus and the medical community refer to as “DOMS”- delayed onset muscle soreness. Getting your body and muscles warmed up also prevents injury. And just so you all know, stretching requires holding the stretch...bounces don’t count!
3. Weight training will make women bulkier - beefy is the term often used.
FICTION: Actually, weight training is the fastest and easiest way for women to look leaner and sculpted using light to moderate weights and many repetitions.
4. The longer you spend on your workout, the better the results.
FICTION! Staying at the gym or working out for a longer amount of time doesn't ensure you'll be fitter. “Quality over quantity" applies to any type of physical activity. You will always hear a good coach or physical trainer say that doing an exercise right is much better than doing it wrong a lot of times. For a lot of people, an effective 30 minute workout a day is enough to keep them healthy and fit.
5. Drinking water during your workout is a good idea.
FACT! Hydration is incredibly important during physical activity. During exercise, muscles generate heat causing body temperature to rise. This heat is doused by H2O as it is carried into the bloodstream, and then pushed to the surface as bullets of sweat. This is how your body releases heat. Water is a critical component to this process. Thirst is a sign of dehydration...and you don’t want to be dehydrated ever - and especially during a workout! So do your body a huge favor and drink a cup of water every 15 minutes, especially during the hot, hot summer. It keeps muscles oiled and the body productive!
Now that you’re in the know, stay active and fit! Not only will you support your physical health, but you’ll be happier. (Why happier? Because exercise releases serotonin into your body and enhances serotonin synthesis. Serotonin is an important part in the regulation of learning, mood, sleep and the constriction of blood vessels. Experts say serotonin also might have a role in regulating anxiety, migraines, and general mood levels.)
What are you waiting for? Get active!