Coming to us from every direction is a vast amount of information on the best and worst fitness methods. Unfortunately, much of this information is subject to containing a number of myths that can leave you misinformed and confused. Trying to categorize a piece of fitness advice as fact or fiction can be quite challenging, but it must be attempted if you hope to reach your fitness goals. The sooner you learn the truth about exercise, the closer you’ll be to achieving your desired results.
Here are nine of the most popular myths, unmasked.
Fitness 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 clinical instructor Todd Schlifstein. The best way to reduce knee impact 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.
Fitness Myth No. 2: Doing crunches or working on an “ab machine” will get rid of belly fat.
Don’t believe everything you hear on those late-night infomercials! While an ab-crunching device might “help strengthen the muscles around your midsection and improve your posture,” being able to “see” your abdominal muscles has to do with your overall percentage of body fat. If you don’t lose the belly fat, you won’t see the ab muscles.
But can doing ab crunches help you to lose that belly fat? Experts say no because you can’t pick and choose areas where you’d like to burn fat. So crunches aren’t going to target weight loss in that area. 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 including the area around your midsection.