There are many myths that surround working out. Some of these misconceptions play into why we don’t move our bodies as much as we could, so read on to bust some common fitness myths!
Myth: You have to work out in a gym to have a good workout.
False. You can exercise just about anywhere and still get in a good workout. In your dorm, at the park, and in the pool to name a few—get creative with it! Aim for a mix of aerobic, strength, and flexibility moves to get the most benefits.
Myth: You can spot reduce, or lose fat on specific parts of your body.
False. Because fat cells are distributed across your entire body, you can’t choose where you lose from. What you can target, however, are muscles that you want to strengthen. Want stronger legs? Try squats and lunges, or take your next walk on an incline. Stronger upper body? Shoulder presses and pushups are a start. Putting the focus on building up your strength, rather than focusing on what you want to lose, can help keep you motivated!
Myth: Gymtimidation is a common, normal feeling.
True! We all have probably felt this at some point in our life. “Gymtimidation” can be a fear of going to the gym, hiking or biking, or trying a new group fitness class. If you’re ever feeling gymtimidation, try bringing a friend, coming in with a plan, and asking for help when you need it. Remind yourself that you are there for you!
Myth: I don’t have time to be active.
False. Studies show that exercising just 30 minutes a day decreases your risks for a slew of cardiovascular diseases! One tip for tackling the 30 minutes is to break that time up into three bouts of 10 minutes each. Taking a couple of walks a day is an easy way to add activity into your life.
Myth: Movement helps with stress.
True! Exercise helps to reduce our stress-inducing hormones, cortisol, and adrenaline. By reducing these stress hormones, we’re able to be more productive, feel less worry, and handle stressful situations more effectively. Exercise also helps to stimulate the production of endorphins, which contribute to our feelings of happiness. You’re only one workout away from a good mood!
Myth: You need to stretch before every workout.
False. Although you never want to go into a workout cold, dynamic warm-ups (stretching with movement) rather than static stretching are the way to go when preparing for a workout. Moves that prepare you for the workout you are doing are most likely your best bet—if you are running, start off with a brisk walk. If you are doing intense weight training, start off with body weight or lighter weights to prepare you.
Myth: The best workout is (insert latest, most popular workout here).
False. The best workout is one that fits your goals and lifestyle, not necessarily what’s popular or trendy. A good workout can be something that is challenging yet enjoyable, or that helps you meet certain goals. Find what works for you and make it a part of your lifestyle!