Is no pain, no gain really true when it comes to exercise? Does the amount you sweat really correlate to the amount of fat you're losing? Experts take a look at these and other fitness fables.
Drinking Water Causes Cramps.
"Cramps are actually a symptom of dehydration, so this is an
old wives tale," says Bryant. "Basically, drinking water will help
ensure you are properly hydrated, which will ultimately reduce your risk of
sustaining or experience cramps."
Lifting Weights Can Make You Look
"This is a myth that deters a lot of women
from strength training, when in fact, what determines the amount of muscle bulk
a person has is largely dependent on genetic factors," says
So for the typical woman, and the typical man,
the chances of looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger are slim.
"To keep things in perspective, less than 1%
of women, and less than 10% of males, have the genetic predisposition to
naturally develop muscle bulk in response to strength training," says
Weight training is also an important part of any
exercise plan, according to the American Heart Association web site. While
aerobic activities help your heart and lungs and stretching improves your
flexibility, weight training will improve your strength and endurance, and a
combination of all three makes for an optimal exercise plan.
Exercising Is a Sure-Fire Way to Lose
While it may seem obvious that exercise will
result in weight loss, that's not necessarily the case.
"What can happen is an individual may gain weight because she is changing
her body composition," says Bryant. "She's losing fat tissue, but
gaining lean tissue, which is a good thing. So while you may gain, you'll start
to notice that your clothes will fit better because lean tissue takes up less
space than fat tissue because it's more dense."
And, of course, you need to take your diet into
"If you have a person who has a poor diet
and she's inactive, and then she starts to exercise but continues the poor
diet, she may lose weight, but it's only a modest loss," says Bryant.
"The best method for achieving a change in body composition is to combine
exercise with a sound eating plan."
You Can Target One Area of Your Body for
"This is a myth, pure and
simple," Bryant tells WebMD. "No matter how much exercise you do for a
specific region of the body, it's physiologically impossible to lose body fat
in a targeted area."