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Six Myths That Can Stand In The Way Of Reaching Your Fitness Goals In 2013

Barbara Brenseke

Stay on track by avoiding these myths. (Photo: blublaf/www.iStockphoto.com)

There are many myths that can stand in the way of getting the physical activity you need to stay trim, fit and healthy. Here are some myths and truths about exercise:

Myth 1: If I exercise, I can eat whatever I want.

Truth: Many people overestimate the number of calories used during exercise. For example, a 175-pound man burns about 140 calories on a 30-minute walk. However, if that same man sits down after his walk and eats a burger and fries he loses the calorie-cutting benefit of exercise, and then some. Remember, to lose weight you need to use more calories than you take in.

Myth 2: If I have no energy for physical activity, it's best to rest.

Truth: Physical activity can actually help you feel more energetic. Plus, you can plan your physical activity for the times of day when you have the most energy. Go to bed earlier to make sure you're getting enough rest. Take it slow if you're just beginning an exercise plan – start out with a walk around the block, not a marathon.

Myth 3: To lose weight, I should only focus on aerobic exercise.

Truth: While aerobic exercise helps you burn calories, strength training helps you reduce body fat and increase your lean muscle mass, which in turn helps you burn calories more efficiently.

Myth 4: I should push myself to the limit to get the benefit. After all, as the old saying goes, "No pain, no gain."

Truth: Exercise shouldn't hurt. A little muscle soreness when you do something new is okay, but soreness doesn't equal pain. If it hurts, you're probably pushing yourself too hard.

Myth 5: I should drink a sports drink when I exercise.

Reality: It's important to stay hydrated when you exercise, but zero-calorie water is often the best choice. You don't need electrolytes and carbohydrates found in sports drinks unless you are doing vigorous exercise for an extended amount of time.

Myth 6: I shouldn't bother working out unless I can exercise for at least 30 minutes.

Reality: Studies show that doing multiple 10-minute bouts of moderate intensity activity throughout the day can add up to big health benefits.

If you're uncertain about an exercise-related claim you hear ask a certified fitness trainer to set you straight.

Barbara is the owner of Train For the Game in Bellmore. She is a strength and conditioning coach who works with athletes and people of all ages.

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