When it comes to physical activity, myths and half-truths are rampant. We are especially vulnerable to falling for myths when we search for shortcuts or other too-good-to- be-true “secrets” to maximizing our results. However, some of the more pervasive fitness misconceptions may simply be long-held beliefs about the best ways to work out that were accepted truths at one time but were subsequently disproven by new research.
True or False Question 1
– Do you really burn more body fat if you exercise in the morning?
Fact – Depends. Some experts claim that people stick with their programs better if they exercise in the morning. This makes great sense if you think about it. If you get your workout out of the way first thing in the a.m., there’s zero chance for life’s curveballs to interfere with your plans, which can happen with afternoon or evening workouts. But the best time to exercise is always the time you’ll actually do it! If your best window of opportunity is directly after work, at 5:30 PM, then that’s the time to break a sweat!
True or False Question 2
– You should warm up before exercising.
Fact – True. Doing a gentle warm-up—such as walking at a leisurely pace, marching in place, or doing calisthenics—before your workout provides numerous benefits. For one thing, it increases your core body temperature, which can improve the delivery of oxygen to your muscles and boost your metabolic rate. Warming up can also enhance your range of motion, prevent injuries (by making your muscles more flexible), and help your muscles contract faster (and work harder!) when you go full throttle. If you want to stretch after a gentle five-to-ten-minute warm up, that’s fine— but don’t stretch before you get moving because stretching your muscles when they’re cold can lead to injury. There’s even some evidence that stretching beforehand could make aerobic exercise more difficult by impairing muscle strength, power, and speed.
Come back tomorrow for some more true and false questions about exercise.