Perennial Myths About Exercise

by Angela Yorke | April 5th, 2012 | Exercises

The number of articles on fitness notwithstanding, some “facts” have persisted over the years and are repeated by those who are new to fitness or who are embarking on a fitness routine.

One myth is that fit people are simply not fat; therefore, there is no point to a fat person exercising. The truth is that you can achieve a better level of fitness even if you are relatively more “well padded” than the next person. It’s important to differentiate “plain” fitness, which generally helps you live longer, from merely losing weight, because skinny people can be unfit too.

It’s easy to become discouraged when you don’t drop 2 clothing sizes after a month of diligent, constant exercise. In this sense, fitness is similar to a personality, and it’s what’s on the inside, i.e., your levels of low-density lipoprotein (good) cholesterol, that counts more than a 23-inch waistline.

Moreover, the benefits of exercise extend beyond gaining the ability to wear smaller clothes. It also improves your mood, reduces risk of heart disease and diabetes, and naturally helps you sleep better.

Aging is just another part of life, but it doesn’t mean that you will get heavier as you age. Too many people throw in the towel when they hit their late-30’s, succumbing to the misconception that the loss of lean body mass, or muscle, over time means that getting fat is inevitable.

People also become increasingly sedentary as they age due to work and/or social commitments, leading to the “inevitable” metabolic slowdown; however, there is nothing that says you can’t maintain a relatively high basal metabolic rate.

This can be done by maintaining and building on the lean body mass you possess to ensure that you have more muscle, which burns a higher number of calories, than fat. There’s no need to throw yourself into an Olympian body-building routine either, as most people would do quite well by strength training 3 times a week in 40-minute durations.

Lastly, getting regular exercise doesn’t mean that you can pig out at every meal. It’s true that more muscle will result in more calories being used, but you also have to bear in mind that food is fuel, that you should only consume what you need, and that excess fuel will be stored, which means you’d be sabotaging your own fitness goals by having 2 servings of pasta when one would have sufficed.

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All health and fitness information is provided for educational purposes. Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise regimen.