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Exercise Myths - Part 3

The field of fitness is replete with exercise myths - bits of mis-information and half truths that people cling to like life vests after a shipwreck.

Understanding the truth behind these myths will go a long way towards helping you to figure out what really works. Here are some more of the most commonly held exercise myths:

No. 11: Stretching is not really necessary.

Stretching is one of the three main types of exercise you should be performing - the three are cardio (including intervals), resistance training, and flexibility training. However, stretching should not be part of your warm-up, whatever the instructor at your gym says. It should be done either at the end of the workout, as part of your cool down, or later in the day, maybe while watching TV in the evening.

No. 12: Food eaten after 8 p.m. will turn into body fat.

The basic equation of weight loss is simple - take in more calories than you burn, and you gain weight; take in less calories than you burn and you'll lose weight. When you eat them is not a part of that equation. Having said that, it's better to eat small regular meals throughout the day than fast all day and gorge in the evening.

No. 13: Your metabolism slows down once you hit 30.

This is both true and false. Your metabolism (the rate at which you burn calories) does begin to slow down once you pass 30, but you don't have to let it. Vigorous exercise, in particular resistance training and intervals, will speed up your metabolism, and more than make up for any effects of the aging process. Aging is mostly about what you do and don't do in regards to exercise and nutrition, not about how old you are.

No. 14: Swimming works your whole body and is therefore a great way to lose weight.

Swimming is a great workout, and it does indeed work the whole body. However, very few people actually lose weight from swimming. There seem to be two reasons. The first is that many people just swim too slowly - you know the ones I mean, the folks who swim a graceful and gentle breast stroke, chatting away to each other and never getting their hair wet. The second is that the cool water seems to stimulate appetite, encouraging you to eat more. Indeed, even competitive swimmers often do 'land based' exercise such as running or stationary biking in order to shed some weight.



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