8 myths about exercise that drive experts crazy

When done correctly, exercise can be a true miracle cure. But if we follow wrong advice we can easily get hurt. Take sit-ups, for example: once considered the gold standard of core exercises, we now know that they can increased lower back pain,

Fitness culture is full of these types of misconceptions because the science is constantly evolving and fitness influencers give advice based on “Tales and Traditions of the Gym”said Brad Schoenfeld, a professor of exercise science at Lehman College in New York. “Once those opinions spread and take root among the public, they are difficult to change.”

I asked over a dozen fitness experts to list the myths they most frequently hear from their clients and patients that they’d like to dispel.

Myth 1: We should stretch before exercising

If you took gym class in high school, you probably were asked to spend a few minutes stretching before exercising. But recent research has found that stretching before exercising it is not effective To prevent injuries and harm they can cause. This is because stretching a muscle for more than 90 seconds temporarily reduces its strength.

“They just have temporarily weakened “You’re trying to exercise all muscle groups,” said Dr. Josh Goldman, associate director of the UCLA Health Sports Medicine Center.

If you really enjoy the sensation of stretching before physical activity, don’t hold it in for too long, Goldman advises.

For the most effective preparation for exercise, try a dynamic warm-up: a series of active exercises that increases your blood flow and gently applies pressure to your muscles. “Save the stretching for another time,” he said.

“I like to tell people do this before going to bedBecause it gives the muscles time to recover before moving again.

Myth 2: You need to lift heavy weights to build muscle

That’s not true, said Schoenfeld, who studies muscle growth. A significant body of research now shows that growth relatively light weight For example, 30 repetitions is just as effective in building muscle and strength as lifting heavy weights for five to twelve repetitions. It is a matter of personal preference.

But don’t avoid lifting heavy weights out of fear that they’ll make you heavier, said Dr. Jacob Sellen, a sports medicine doctor at the Mayo Clinic. “It really took a lot of hard work to build Poppy’s muscles,” he said. “This doesn’t just happen with normal strength training.”

They recommend doing muscle strength training at least twice a week. Photo: Shutterstock

Myth 3: Running hurts your knees

Research has rejected the idea that running increases the risk of osteoarthritis and also suggests that can protect your knees Of that condition. In fact, apart from age, weight and genetics, not walking increases the risk of osteoarthritis.

For years, Goldman said, experts thought that “knees are like tires: When we drive the car too hard, we burn out the tire.” “This is not true, because the body is dynamic” and joints can regenerate By itself, especially when we exercise regularly.

But purposeful running can lead to knee pain or injury if we train too aggressively, said Dr. Jordan Metzl, a sports medicine doctor at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.

Metzl called it “Violate the rule of many people”: To run very fast or very far or very quickly. “Increase slowly,” he said. And if you start feeling pain in your knee, get it checked by a sports medicine specialist as soon as possible.

Myth 4: Walking is enough to stay fit as we age

Walking is a popular activity among seniors for good reason: It has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and some cancers, as well as the risk of premature death. And it is quite possible that this will happen.

But walking alone is not enough to stay physically fit as we age, said Anne Brady, associate professor of exercise science at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro. That said, starting at age 30, muscle mass gradually decreases, so we should also pay attention to strength training.

“People can perform daily activities with minimal cardiovascular fitness,” he said. “But when they don’t have muscle strength or power It is necessary to fulfill them, this is the moment when they lose their freedom.

Combine walking with at least two 20-minute strength training sessions per week.

Elongation should be dynamic. Photo Shutterstock.

Myth 5: Runners and cyclists don’t need to train lower body strength

Amanda Katz, a certified strength and running coach in New York City, said she often has to explain to her clients who run or cycle that they need to train lower body strength as well.

Slamming the pavement or pressing the pedals strengthens the lower body, but not enough to excite. significant muscle growthSaid.

A strength training regimen that includes Squats, Lunges, Glute Bridge And pointers (crossed lumbopelvic stabilization) can improve bone density and reduce injury risk and also make us stronger runners or cyclists.

Myth 6: Mods are for beginners

Choose to create a version less vigorous Stephanie Roth-Goldberg, a clinical social worker and therapist, says that failing at an exercise (for example, a push-up or a plank with knees on the floor) doesn’t mean we’re weak or new or that we’re going backwards. Are. New York who works with athletes. This is a sign that we are listening to our body and keeping it safe.

“The body needs different things on different days“, he said. “Modifying exercise helps us work on physical fitness and the body-mind connection.”

Myth 7: We should walk 10,000 steps a day to be healthy

No. Exercise scientists rejected it years ago, but many still view it as a benchmark of good health, said Cedric Bryant, president and chief scientific officer of the American Council on Exercise.

This myth dates back to the 1960s, when a Japanese watch manufacturer mass-produced a pedometer that translated to “10,000 step meter”. “Unfortunately, it took on a life of its own, because the research clearly doesn’t support that there’s anything magical about that goal,” Bryant said.

The latest research indicates that the health benefits of walking about 7,500 steps appear to be stable, but less than 4,000 steps per day may reduce the risk of dying from any cause.

The measurement of 10 thousand steps is not supported by scientific evidence. Photo Shutterstock.

Myth 8: Taking an ice bath after an intense workout improves recovery

Soaking in an ice-cold tub after a tough workout may seem like protection from injury, as it helps reduce inflammation. But there is a problem with this.

“Not all swelling is bad”Goldman explained. If we jump into a tub of ice after every workout, we slow down or stop the repair process.

When we exercise, we create supportive inflammation by strategically applying pressure to the muscles, and as the body recovers, it builds strength, he said. If you want to treat a specific injury after a workout, Goldman recommends applying ice to it or waiting a day before to take a cold shower to give your muscles time to begin the repair process.

The same rule applies to over-the-counter painkillers, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories: because they are anti-inflammatory, we should take them after exercising. Only when we are treating an injury, Otherwise, we risk counteracting the training.

“Cold water immersion is a great anti-inflammatory tool, but we should use it when we really want to prevent inflammation, not as a prescription after every workout,” Goldman said.

Research shows that for overall health benefits after a workout, sauna bath They may be safer and more effective.

Translation: Elisa Carnelly

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