11 Fitness Myths That Are Harmful to Your Health

There are so many do's and don't's when it comes to exercising, and sometimes it's almost impossible to figure out which advice to follow and which advice is best left ignored. Often, the advice you'll hear from one person may contradict the advice you'll hear from someone else and this can be quite discouraging at times.

We at Bright Side decided to find out which tips you can trust and which you shouldn't pay attention to.

Myth #1: the best time for a workout is in the morning.

This is most definitely not true. The best hours for a workout are the hours that you feel ready to exercise. It doesn't matter if you prefer working out in the gym in the evenings or if you prefer to go for a run before heading to work in the morning. What matters is consistency. Studies show that there is no real difference between morning and evening workouts.

Myth #2: the best training activities for your brain are puzzles, games, and crosswords.

Crosswords, riddles, and puzzles are not the only way to develop the brain. Physical exercises are useful for both the body and the brain. Exercises that make the blood flow faster are better than hours spent on solving riddles. Sports have been shown to significantly improve a person's mood, memory function, and protect from dementia.

Myth #3: you can skip a few weeks of exercising and you'll still be in shape.

Unfortunately, it doesn't work this way. Most people will lose muscle tone after just a one-week break from working out. So, even when you achieve the results you strived for, you shouldn't give up exercising entirely.

Myth #4: either a marathon or nothing. Long-distance is the only way to go.

Not true. The people who prefer short distances have the same heart condition as those who run marathons. Besides, light exercises like jogging or even walking are better for the body. The heart and the vascular system can adjust to your workouts.

Myth #5: energy drinks are a great way to stay hydrated during a workout.

Energy drinks are nothing more than sugar with water. Experts recommend drinking pure water instead and restoring energy with food full of protein after a workout.

Myth #6: a treadmill is better than a park.

Jogging in the fresh air and on a treadmill is not the same even if you cover the same distances. Running against the wind makes a very important group of muscles work and it burns 10% more calories than running on a treadmill.

Myth #7: demanding workouts make you want to eat.

If you are really hungry after a workout, it means that something went wrong. In fact, physical exercise is supposed to suppress the hunger. This works on the hormonal level: the production of ghrelin (the hunger hormone) slows down and leptin goes up.

Myth #8: protein bars are a great substitution for oatmeal.

This is another myth. A protein bar is processed food that requires fewer calories to digest, so it's less useful. Bars can only be a snack but not a substitution for oatmeal or any other cereal.

Myth #9: only dairy products contain calcium.

The myth that dairy products have a lot of calcium is very outdated. However, there are definitely other foods that are packed with calcium. Broccoli, sesame seeds, and spinach are a great substitution for dairy products that aren't always as healthy as we're used to believing.

Myth #10: yoga will get rid of a backache.

Yoga can't cure your back pain. If the pain is caused by muscle problems, then yes, stretching and some poses can be very useful as they will make the muscles stronger and it's possible that the pain will disappear. But if you have more serious problems, like hernias or protrusions, then yoga can do more harm than good. In any case, consult a doctor before you start doing yoga.

Myth #11: running damages your knees and ankles.

This misconception doesn't have any proof to back it up. According to the latest studies, running doesn't do any harm to your legs but it actually makes them stronger and less susceptible to injuries.

Bonus: more time spent at the gym isn't always a good thing.

According to doctors, the most important thing about any workout is not to overdo it. Even if you need to get in shape very quickly, it's very stressful for your body to go to the gym every day. The body needs time to recover. It doesn't mean that you should sit at home all day and eat fast food, but rest is just as important as the workouts themselves. And don't forget to exercise different muscles in different patterns to avoid injuries.

Do you know of any other fitness myths? Share your favorite exercise routine and fitness tips with us in the comments below!

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