Top 10 Myths About Exercising to Stop Believing
In today’s age of information, separating fact from rumor can be tricky. As a result, it often seems like exercise myths are more common than exercise truths.
Not only are myths about exercising potentially harmful, but they’re also doing you a disservice. You might be misjudging your exercises, failing to meet your body’s needs, or going into your workouts with the wrong facts in mind. That’s why we’re here to break down what people get wrong about working out and what you can do instead.
10 Common Fitness Myths Debunked
You’ve probably heard one or more of these workout myths throughout your fitness journey, but each of them is missing something crucial. Let’s take a closer look at some of our favorite fitness facts and myths.
1. “No pain, no gain.”
It’s true that overload is an essential part of exercise – the difficulty of your workouts must increase over time to continue to benefit you in the same way. And overload can certainly be uncomfortable. So, why is “no pain, no gain” an exercise myth? Its implications are dangerously misleading.
Pain isn’t a reliable indicator of your progress, and exercising to the point of pain can cause injuries. You don’t need to experience pain to be working out “properly,” even though discomfort can sometimes come with pushing yourself.
2. Spot reduction is possible.
You might have heard you can target fat in a certain area – say, the stomach, thighs, or backside – if you follow certain diets, cut out certain foods, or do specific exercises. But the truth is that you can’t target weight loss in a single area of the body. In other words, there is no way to lose weight in your hips and not in your arms, legs, or other body parts.
Your body naturally sheds fat all over when you burn more calories than you eat, which leads to weight loss. Where you notice the most significant differences come down to genetics.
And while some exercises might build muscle in specific areas, they can’t trigger fat loss in those particular spots.
3. Lifting weights will make me bulky.
It’s totally possible to lift weights without “bulking” up and gaining significant muscle mass. In fact, regular resistance exercise (such as weight lifting) is often a vital part of slimming down. Lifting lower weights with higher repetitions (“reps”) is a great way to tone your muscles and boost your metabolism, which ultimately helps you shed excess fat.
Because resistance training can help you lose weight and benefits your mental and physical health overall, it’s worth your effort even if you have no desire to become a bodybuilder.
4. Stretching prevents injuries.
Despite what’s commonly believed, stretching doesn’t necessarily prevent injuries during exercise. The “stretching before exercise” myth has some truth to it, though. Stretches help increase flexibility and blood flow, which makes moving fluidly easier. They can also make it easier to work out comfortably without straining tight muscles or joints.
The real myth comes from believing that stretching is a foolproof method against injury. But other factors, such as workout form and frequency, also affect your risk of hurting yourself.
All the stretching in the world won’t stop you from developing strain-related injuries, lifting improperly, or overexerting yourself.
5. The more you sweat, the better.
One of the most common fitness myths many of us perpetuate without realizing it is that a good workout means a good sweat. But sweat is merely a sign of elevated body temperature, which doesn’t necessarily reveal how effective your workout is or how hard you’re working.
Two people completing the same exercise might produce noticeably different amounts of sweat due to genetics, personal fitness levels, and more. And that sweat might continue even after the workout is finished as your body cools down.
Still, even if sweat doesn’t indicate workout quality, it can show that you’ve pushed yourself enough to see some fitness benefits.
Regardless of how much you sweat while exercising, make sure you take good care of your skin with exercise-friendly hygiene products like OffCourt’s Performance Body Spray. This aluminum-free deodorant and body spray is designed to kill bad, odor-causing bacteria while allowing your sweat to escape and evaporate as intended. You can stay fresh and cool off effectively as you move with OffCourt.
6. Cardio is the best way to lose weight.
This exercise myth stems from the fact that cardio tends to burn more calories than other activities, which makes it ideal if you’re trying to stick to a calorie deficit. Likewise, cardio exercises are great for your heart, lungs, and metabolism, all of which may be of concern for those trying to lose weight.
However, cardio isn’t the only way to lose weight, and it’s not necessarily the “best.” Cardio is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, but so is resistance training. Lifting weights a few times a week can actually help you lose weight faster than cardio alone, as building more muscle helps you burn more calories.
The more pounds of muscle you add, the more calories you’ll naturally burn throughout the day, whether you exercise or not.
7. Sweating is bad for your skin.
Don’t fall for this fitness myth – sweat can actually be good for your skin, at least so long as you practice regular skin care.
As it exits from deep in your pores, sweat pushes out dead skin and grime that might be lurking inside. It essentially acts as a form of mild exfoliation. But that’s not all: sweat also carries vital nutrients to help your skin stay healthy and balanced.
Even though sweat itself isn’t harmful to your skin, lingering sweat can cause problems. The salt in sweat may dry out your skin or cause irritation. Sweat is also an attractive food source for bacteria that produce odors and, in some cases, might cause skin conditions like acne.
You can mitigate the effects of sweat with regular cleansing and exfoliation, both of which help your skin stay hydrated and healthy. Our Deep Cleansing Body Wash and Exfoliating Body Soap offer light and moderate exfoliation (respectively) and deeply hydrating ingredients to soothe your skin between workouts.
8. You have to go to the gym to exercise properly.
There are many gym myths out there, but chief among them is the belief that the gym is the best place to go to get fit. Gyms are great, but they’re not the end-all-be-all.
There are plenty of ways to challenge yourself and have fun with fitness without joining a gym. Going for a run, biking, dancing, yoga, hiking, and so many more options are available to help you get moving in a way you enjoy.
9. Working out takes too long.
You might feel like you need to dedicate large chunks of time to exercise to see benefits, but that’s not necessarily true. While 20-30 minutes of exercise is usually an ideal amount to strive for daily, those minutes don’t have to be consecutive or the result of a “workout.”
Spending a few minutes cleaning multiple times throughout the day can offer the same benefits as doing the cleaning all at once. You can also save time working out by opting for high-intensity exercises that push you harder for a shorter period.
10. Exercise cancels out a poor diet.
Unfortunately, there is no way to out-exercise a consistently poor diet. In other words, no amount of exercise will cancel out the effects of a less-than-ideal diet.
A fitness program can’t remedy symptoms like low energy and nutritional deficiencies. And when it comes to weight loss, calories in are just as important as calories out.
What Exercise Myths Have You Heard?
These common misconceptions about exercise can cause a lot of unnecessary stress and pain, so it’s time to ditch them for good. This list certainly doesn’t include all of the myths about fitness out there, though.
What are some myths about exercise you’ve heard? Did we miss any? We’d love to hear your thoughts!
At OffCourt, we’re here to provide high-quality information and products for active lifestyles of all kinds. Shop our full inventory to find options that help you move confidently and comfortably.