8 Fitness Myths That Can Damage Your Health
Whether you are a consummate athlete or a beginner in the world of fitness, there is a myriad of fitness myths, dangerous fitness myths and facts about exercise and working out you might not be aware of. Applying inaccurate or misleading fitness advice might impede your progress or cause injuries or physical strain. That is why it is helpful to acknowledge the eight fitness myths that can damage your health in time.
On our journey to physical health, we naturally rely on experience and advice from friends, family, and gym buddies. However, the misguided recommendations about diet and workout regimens might not be accurate or might not suit your particular fitness level or capabilities. Remember, like everything in life, there is no one-size-fits-all fitness routine. You must listen to your body and work out what feels right for you.
Of course, this is not to say you should discard suggestions and widely accepted exercising advice without critical thinking. In that sense, two things are crucial. First, your friend’s or fitness guru’s routine might not suit you – measure it up against your own wellbeing and progress. Second, do your research – this article is a great start.
1. Any stretching is good stretching
Although stretching is an integral part of preparing yourself for exercising, the type and amount of stretching are essential considerations. It is instrumental in preventing injury and muscle strain. But stretching can have a detrimental impact on your body if done wrongly or excessively.
Most stretching movements people are familiar with involve static, standing stretching. For instance, leaning down to touch your toes is a classic example. This means your body is relatively still as you extend your muscles. Most people associate these classic movements with good examples of stretching. However, static stretching results in muscle overextension as your muscles aren’t activated beforehand. Furthermore, these movements rarely have anything to do with the actual workout you are about to have.
A better approach is to warm up your body through light cardio and/or dynamic movements that resemble the activity you will engage in afterward. So, if you plan to do squats with weights, you should do a couple of squats without any weight to prepare your muscles for the strain. Light running or jogging for 5-15 minutes is beneficial for improving blood flow and joint movement.
Warm up your body with similar movements you will do during your training.
2. Don’t eat before the workout
As much as you are eager to lose weight quickly, skipping meals before and after the workout is very unhealthy. Intuitively, this practice might make sense, but in practice, they make your exercise unnecessarily difficult, even dangerous.
So, ensure you eat healthy foods before the workout to fuel your body and after the training to promote muscle growth and regeneration. Nutrition plays a major role in maintaining your health and fitness level. No amount of muscle or weight loss can make up for collapsing or injuring yourself due to exhaustion or malnutrition.
Don’t skip meals – eat healthy instead.
3. Eating exclusively protein-based foods
The many protein-chugged snacks on the market nowadays have created a myth that eating a protein candy bar before or after a workout is an excellent dietary decision.
Protein is essential for muscle building and recovery. However, foods with a high proportion of protein should be taken after the workout rather than before. An average adult needs about two to three ounces of lean protein per meal to satisfy daily nutritional needs when working out. So, no need to go overboard with egg whites – balance is key.
4. Avoid carbohydrates and fats
The protein myth extends to other essential substances – carbs and fat. The crusade against foods rich in carbs makes people believe they should avoid healthy carbohydrates such as fruits and vegetables! Yet, a balanced intake of healthy carbs, fat, fibre, and protein provides a better basis for effective and healthy exercising. Carbs give you energy, healthy fats promote brain function, and fibre improves digestion. So, you need all of them to stay healthy.
5. Longer workouts are more efficient
This is one of those dangerous fitness myths and facts about exercise. Naturally, we all want to make the best out of the time and energy invested into working out. However, dragging out your workouts or exercising excessively doesn’t mean you are working out smarter. Effective and targeted weightlifting can trump an hour on the treadmill easily. Moreover, pushing yourself can lead to extreme exhaustion, causing bad body form or injury. So, shorter but accurate workouts make more sense.
6. Focusing on one area
“I just want to lose my love handles,” “I would like to shape my legs,” are also fitness myths and facts about exercise. These, ,and similar famous requests of people starting off their fitness journey promote the myth you can target a single area on your body and work on that. However, building muscle like this might lead to severe back and neck problems or injury. It is unrealistic to expect your body to withstand increasing weights if you do not exercise your entire body consistently.
7. No pain, no gain
A common misconception is that you must feel the burn to expect tangible and observable results when exercising. However, this is one of those dangerous fitness myths and facts about exercise that brings more harm than good – harm that might seriously set you back as you struggle to recover from an injury, extreme muscle soreness, or strain. So, never push through the pain – take it easy and allow your body to heal.
Take breaks and rest amply. Avoid common fitness myths, and let your body recover.
8. Exercise every day for the best results
Although top athletes undergo intensive workout sessions every day, this doesn’t necessarily mean this is 100% healthy. You might be inclined to think so, but this is just one of the dangerous fitness myths that can damage your health irreversibly. Staying on top of your fitness by not skipping days is essential. Yet, having a tired, strained body due to excessive working out can cause severe health problems. So, rest days and plenty of sleep are just as important as a good workout routine and consistency.