There's a ton of misinformation out there about health and fitness. I've had hair-tearing-out conversations with a friend whose trainer had him convinced that all carbs are bad so he should avoid fruits and vegetables and only eat chicken breasts. And I've tried again and and again to convince my mother that a tablespoon of olive oil and a tablespoon of butter have the same amount of fat (the health benefits of olive oil are in the type of fat, not that it's some magical low-fat oil, MOM).
Then there are those that are technically true, maybe even scientifically proven, but aren't especially helpful. That's my take on this story from Yahoo Shine about 5 Fitness Myths to Forget. And I'm calling, well, if not BS, the definitely "yes ... but."
Number one is: Walking is not as effective as running. The writer points out, rightfully, that when walkers and runners cover the same distance, they burn the same number of calories. True, and if you hate running, there's not a thing wrong with a nice brisk walk instead. But here's the deal: Walking might be as effective as running, but running is a hell of a lot more efficient. The distance you can cover in a 30-minute run is maybe half as much as you can in the same amount of time walking.
Two: Exercise increases hunger. That's a myth? Oh realllly. Tell that to me after I leave the Y absolutely ravenous, while I can have the exact same breakfast on a non-workout day and maybe realize I'm a little peckish some hours later. It might not increase overall calorie needs, but it definitely can spur the urge to eat.
Three: It doesn't matter where your calories come from. Okay, this one I'll give them. They point out that protein takes longer to chew and digest than carbs, and that fiber-rich carbs like fruits and vegetables have a much lesser effect on blood sugar than refined ones like white bread.
Four: Diet alone is enough for sustained weight loss. Again, I'll give them this one. They point out that exercise builds muscle, which needs more calories to sustain itself than fat does. Creating more muscle makes it easier to maintain any weight loss.
Five: There is no best time for exercise. Again, probably technically true, but they suggest late afternoon as a good workout time versus morning. Most people are still working then, though, and those of us with a little more control over our schedule probably don't have a lot of motivation to work out then. I know after a long hot day of wrangling kids, getting more sweaty is not appealing, but if I work out in the morning, it's done and I can feel smug all day long.
What fitness myths drive you crazy?
Image via Kevin Dooley/Flickr