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Exercise myths uncovered

The fitness field is simply full of myths, many of which show a remarkable degree of persistence. Learn the truth from the lies in order to improve your fitness IQ.

Over the years, the field of health and fitness has acquired a huge collection of "Exercise Myths". These are half truths or downright lies that are either the product of wishful thinking, or quite often, aggressive marketing by people trying to sell products.

Check out the list below to see how many of these you have believed over the years - or indeed, how many of them you are still clinging on to!

Here's a selection of some the best ones we've noticed down through the years:

Spot reduction will help lose weight where I want to: This falls in to the category of wishful thinking! Sorry, but spot reduction just doesn't work - in fact, liposuction is the only way to remove fat from a specific area! If you do a million leg raises because you're worried about your flabby thighs, you are doing a resistance exercise for your legs, and they will grow bigger. So you will now have bigger, stronger, flabby thighs. Fat belongs to the whole body, and to get rid of that fat, you have to increase the calorie demand on the whole body sufficiently to use that fat as fuel.

Wearing lots of clothes or a 'sweatsuit' while exercising will burn off more fat: Guess what? Fat boils at 360 degrees, so you can't burn it up with body heat! Overheating while exercising will simply increase water loss and decrease stamina, neither of which will have the slightest effect on fat loss - though they might make you ill. The same goes for saunas and steam baths. If they feel good, use them, but don't expect magic results. Any weight loss you may experience will be water, and will thus be temporary. Despite the claims of marketing people who want you to buy their sweatsuits, they simply don't work.

I need to do special exercises to lose my cellulite: Another marketing myth - despite the claims of the beauty industry, there's no such thing as cellulite. It's just lots of fat under a somewhat different skin texture. Lose body fat and the cellulite will magically disappear.

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