We are bombarded with information telling us that exercise is good for us and that lives could be saved if people were more active but a large proportion of us are still sedentary or do very little activity daily. I sometimes get the feeling that people are being scared away from exercising as they are unsure of what they need to do or what will happen if they do it. In a wolrd of information overload, videos, magazines, friends and colleagues all providing advice I hope to clear away some of the most common exercise myths with this article.
“Women shouldn’t lift weights as it will make them too muscular”
What a load of rubbish but unfortuately a lot of women are scared to lift weights as it will make them bulky or because they think weight lifting is for men only. Women should lift weights to retain what muscle tissue they have as this helps to strengthen joints and bones in addition to the metabolism boost muscle tissue provides. Don’t worry about bulking up or looking like a bodybuilder. Women don’t have enough testosterone to build that much muscle tissue, the competitive female bodybuilders you see in the magazines or on TV are using synthetic hormones to encourage their body to hold more muscle. Weight lifting alone will not get you that look.
“The right exercise can trigger fat loss in a specific area of your body”
This is particulary the case when it comes to flat belly exercises but also show up in all sorts of training routines. Spot reduction is a myth. You will have been told that to lose the body fat around your abdomen you should do hundreds of crunches or if you want to slim down around your hips then the hip machines are for you. I am going to tell you almost the complete opposite. While doing these exercises should make up part of a balanced overall routine for your body focusing on the one area is not going to encourage fat loss specificly from that area.
The abdominal and hip muscles will tone and will become stronger but the layer of fat can only be lost as part of a whole body fat loss goal. A combination of cardio training and weight lifting to work all the muscles in the body will provide much better results. Your metabolism will burn more calories this way and will need to turn to the stored fat in your body for energy a lot more often.
“The older you get the fatter you’ll become. It’s inevitable.”
This is also not true. It would appear to be at first glance but it is only because as most people get older they become less active, lose muscle tissue and as a result get a lower metabolic rate. All of this takes place but very few people lower the amount of food they eat to compensate or add exercise to their daily routines to burn calories and keep the much needed muscle tissue to help their bodies stay young and lean. Just three sessions a week will encourage your body to maintain or increase it’s muscle mass and a healthy, high protein diet will allow you to get a flat stomach regardless of your age.