Tuesday, October 19, 2010

That’s a Myth!!!

Lately I am coming across many people, who have built up an entire encyclopedia of myths about fitness and nutrition, thanks to incomplete information, inspiring cases of fitness achievements from people around, apart from many other issues!
Lets discuss some myths about Fitness here –

You must join a gym to lose weight
This statement found its place in this article because there seem to be an increasing number of people, who love to put off exercising, citing reasons like they do not have time to join a gym or they cant join a gym due to some reasons, and the like!
While the effectiveness of joining a gym is beyond doubts, however incase it seems difficult to do so, there are many other options available as well, like walking, buying a set of dumbbells at home, and working out at home (ofcourse, after consulting with an expert), yoga, martial arts, aerobics and so many more! Again if time is a constraint, then use the NEAT principles, like take your dog out for a walk yourself, or pick up the newspaper yourself, and get some walking done while at work, have discussions with colleagues over walks around the office, instead of the cafeteria, use the stairs instead of the elevator. Well, there is an apt saying -“he who wishes to sing, shall find a song” (Applicable to all the‘she’ also!)

No pain no gain
Exercising must be an enjoyable activity, and usually, pain is not pleasurable (this is keeping in mind the exceptional cases who enjoy the feeling of pain!) It is true that some pain must be borne after a beginning a new exercise routine, however, feeling pain to the point of discomfort usually shows that something is not right. Pain while exercising happens, due to the muscle fibers getting pulled, contracted and torn, however, using pain as a parameter to judge the effectiveness of your workout, will not pay off as expected.
Another outcome of this belief is when some people, overtrain themselves or push themselves too far, in terms of the actual exercises or by exercising twice and thrice a day! One hour of workout with a fine balance of warm-up, cool down, weight training and cardio (need not be in the same workout) is sufficient, unless one is aiming at becoming the next Arnold!

Morning is the best time to exercise!
Well, anytime is a good time to begin a good thing!! Being unable to stick to a morning routine, is no excuse to throw away your exercise routine! I remember being inspired by the story of this doctor in Mumbai, who would go for a jog, after finishing his practice at night, around 1.00 am!! Ladies working out around lunchtime is a common sight too!
A favourite amongst many trainers, working with people working on weight loss ( the morning routines target fat reserves faster), while, for some reasons like, consistency, boosting metabolism, being fresh and alert etc. mornings is a good time to exercise, doing it at any other time, is almost as effective.
In this context, it is important to listen to your body, but making sure it says “ok, now” at least at some point in time!
Another favourite time slot with many is the evening times between 4pm – 6pm, with some scientific evidence also suggesting that the hormonal levels are optimal at these times, and hence conducive to exercise.
However, for all practical purposes, remember that any time in the day is good enough!

All Fats are bad!
This is probably, a four letter word that has been degraded, battered and bashed up, to unimaginable extents!
Fats are an essential part of our food pyramids, with many important functions like proper functioning of nervous system, protection of organs and many more.
While it is important to restrict its intake, due to its high calorie density, it still is necessary to be included… and must not be avoided at any cost!
However, we have a choice to choose the healthier options in fats like, which are mono or poly unsaturated options and which have small or no amounts of Trans Fatty Acids.
TFAs are highly dangerous, and found in bakery items, re-used & re-heated oils, margarine and many more items.
Good fats include peanuts, walnuts, fish, olive oil and more!

The more I exercise, the more and faster I lose weight!
I am sure we all, or atleast many of us, have been through this phase at some point in life! Infact, some love to spend 3 hours at the gym, and becomes something that one boasts about proudly!
The truth is that, the body response to exercise slows down, after around an hour of continuous exercise, depending on the level of conditioning. Also, excessive exercise over continuous periods, cause more wear and tear of joints, as well as chances of dehydration, overtraining and low blood sugar (which can lead to binging on food later).
Good health through exercising, is more a function of regularity and consistency, rather than temporary bursts of enthusiasm! Losing weight is a much easier task, than maintaining the lost weight, and also maintaining good health in the process of losing weight!
An hour of exercising done regularly is more than enough to achieve a good health status. Depending on the goal, one can break down the exercise routine, into one-hour bouts, done twice a day, if needed, although taking care to avoid overtraining.

Weight training makes women bulky!
The oldest myth, probably, and yet very popular even in the twenty first century! Hats off to the ladies, who are presently including weight training in their routine!!!
The fear of bulking up, or developing muscles keeps many from taking up weight training or using really light weights, which fail to provide adequate challenge to the body.
Women, biologically, do not possess the hormone (testosterone) in the levels required for developing muscles, unlike men. Infact any weight training they do, will only help in building up the strength of muscles, which is inherently low, incase of ladies. Apart from that, it will also help in building up muscle endurance, which is necessary for ladies since most also do the housework or manage the house, look after kids etc.
Muscle wasting, as one ages is also another factor why weight training must be included in an exercise routine for ladies.

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