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Don’t be Misled by Common Exercise Myths


When it comes to exercise, there are lots of misconceptions floating around about how much you should workout, what you should do and when you should do it.

You probably already know that exercise is good for your heart, bones and waistline. But this quiz can help clear up some of the confusion regarding other do’s and don’ts of working out.

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1. True or False: You have to exercise a lot if you want a healthy heart.
Exercising regularly is good for your heart, but you don’t need to do excessive amounts of exercise to stay healthy. The most benefit comes in the first 20 minutes of exercise, with incremental benefits as you exercise longer. The most important thing is to maintain a consistent exercise schedule. It is recommended that adults engage in moderate physical activity 150 minutes a week, which is equivalent to about 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.
2. True or False: It is okay to choose either cardio activities or weight training, but you don’t need to do both.
It is important to balance cardio and weight training. You need both for optimal health and wellness. This balance also maximizes caloric burn. It’s also important to regularly change your workout routine. Doing so prevents your muscles from adapting to the routine, which minimizes the potential benefits.
3. True or False: You should warm up and cool down every time you work out.
Taking as little as 5 minutes before and after your workout will help reduce the risk of injury and the amount of post-workout muscle soreness. A good rule of thumb is to start your planned exercise at a slower pace and reduced intensity. If you plan to take a brisk walk, warm up by walking slowly for 5 minutes. And add a few minutes of slow walking to the end of your routine to cool down.
4. True or False: It’s a good idea to exercise on an empty stomach.
If your body does not have an available energy source, it is more likely to break down muscle for the glucose (or quick energy) it needs to maintain your workout. Exercising on an empty stomach also increases your risk of becoming dizzy and nauseated, especially if you are doing a heavy workout.
5. True or False: After you exercise, you can pretty much eat whatever you want.
If you take in more calories than you burn, your body will store the excess energy as fat and you’ll gain weight. It is true that if you work out regularly, you can indulge occasionally. But it is very easy to underestimate how much exercise you need to offset popular foods and to overestimate how many calories you’re actually burning during your workout. Drinking a 20-ounce bottle of Coke, for example, would require a 55-minute walk to burn off its 240 calories.

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Date Last Reviewed: December 7, 2018

Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor

Medical Review: Andrew P. Overman, DPT, MS, COMT, CSCS

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