stretchingWhen it comes to fitness, most of us have taken to going to the gym to stay regular with our exercise routines. Working out can be a tough proposition; not only is it time consuming and hard to get into, but as it turns out, there’s a good chance you’ve been doing it wrong this whole time.

Adhering to an effective diet and working out steadily is always great for the body, but there are still some myths floating around out there that are making it much harder than it needs to be. To that end, we’ve compiled some of the most popular myths out there on exercising that are in desperate need of debunking.

Myth #1: Want Perfect Abs? Start Doing Crunches!
Everyone knows that the secret to great abs are a relentless commitment to sit-ups and crunches, right?

?     Interestingly enough, it turns out that exercises that work more muscles, like push-ups, are actually also effective at carving out the ab muscles that everyone fantasizes about.

?     Of course, as is a common theme with many of these myths, there is no substitute for a good diet and healthy exercise regimen.

Myth #2: The Secret to Bulking Up: Lifting Weights
While bulking up seems as simple as grabbing some heavy weights and getting to work, the truth is, unfortunately, a little less cut and dry. Ultimately, a bulky body type comes down to two things: your gender and your genetic ability to build mass.

?     Don’t be disheartened though, just because muscles aren’t developing into a large shape doesn’t mean they’re unhealthy. In fact, muscle size has a very small correlation with muscle strength, as a muscle’s strength is primarily dependent on how often it is exercised.

Myth #3: Always Stretch Before a Workout
While researchers in the past would claim that stretching before a workout was a great way to loosen the body and prevent it from injuring itself, it turns out that this might not be the whole truth.

?     In reality, these so-called “static stretches” actually weaken the body before a rigorous workout routine.

?     Instead, it’s better to do a little cardio before lifting weights, as this gets blood flowing to vital areas and prepares the body for the tasks ahead.

Myth #4: The Magic Number for Weight Loss
Everyone knows that 3500 calories equal one pound, so it only makes sense that just as many calories need to be burned before an entire pound is lost in a workout, right? As shocking as it may be, the body is constantly adapting its metabolism to accommodate changes that result from working out. What this means is that overweight people can lose more weight with a diet change than those that weigh less, but these changes will occur rapidly and become less stable.

Myth #5: Shakes, Shakes, Shakes
As popular as protein shakes and energy drinks have become over the years, there’s still no substitute for a tall glass of water.

?     While it’s true that sports drinks and the like are useful to athletes that follow rigorous exercise regimens over the course of more than an hour, the average person doesn’t need to worry themselves with getting enough electrolytes or any other fad health product.

While this is just the tip of proverbial iceberg, there are many more exercising myths out there that are just waiting to be debunked. Exercising may be great for the body, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done without a little caution. Like everything in life, moderation and research are the two most important keys to developing a successful routine that will keep your body in shape for many years to come.

For more information, visit Careworks.

Author:  Michelle Holincheck, FNP