Toned Tuesday: Fitness Myths

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It’s easy to fall into the trap: A workout buddy passes along an exercise tip, and then you pass it on to several folks you know. So you figure it must be true. But experts say that in the world of fitness, myths and half-truths abound – and some of them may be keeping you from getting the best and safest workout.

Myth No. 1: Running on a treadmill puts less stress on your knees than running on asphalt or pavement.

Running is a great workout, but it can impact the knees — and since it’s the force of your body weight on your joints that causes the stress, it’s the same whether you’re on a treadmill or on asphalt,” says Todd Schlifstein, DO, a clinical instructor at New York University Medical Center’s Rusk Institute. The best way to reduce knee impact, says Schlifstein, is to vary your workout. If you mix running with other cardio activities, like an elliptical machine, or you ride a stationary bike, you will reduce impact on your knees so you’ll be able to run for many more years.”

Myth No. 2: Doing crunches or working on an “ab machine” will get rid of belly fat.

You can’t pick and choose areas where you’d like to burn fat. In order to burn fat, you should create a workout that includes both cardiovascular and strength-training elements. This will decrease your overall body fat content.” – Phil Tyne, director of the fitness center at the Baylor Tom Landry Health & Wellness Center in Dallas

Myth No. 3: Machines are a safer way to exercise because you’re doing it right every time.

Although it may seem as if an exercise machine automatically puts your body in the right position and helps you do all the movements correctly, that’s only true if the machine is properly adjusted for your weight and height, experts say.

Unless you have a coach or a trainer or someone figure out what is the right setting for you, you can make just as many mistakes in form and function, and have just as high a risk of injury, on a machine as if you work out with free weights or do any other type of non machine workout” – Todd Schlifstein

Myth No. 4: As long as you feel OK when you’re working out, you’re probably not overdoing it.

One of the biggest mistakes people tend to make when starting or returning to an exercise program is doing too much too soon. The reason we do that, says Schlifstein, is because we feel OK while we are working out.

 You don’t really feel the overdoing it part until a day or two later

No matter how good you feel when you return to an activity after an absence, Schlifstein says you should never try to duplicate how much or how hard you worked in the past.  Even if you don’t feel it at the moment, you’ll feel it in time, he says — and it could take you back out of the game again.

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