Myth #5: Exercise will lead to quick weight loss
FACT: Exercise can help you to lose weight, but it will not be quick. While exercise has an immediate health benefit, the weight loss is usually not as immediate as most people hope. We have been conditioned to count calories and this leads many to oversimplify the “calories in” vs. “calories burned” relationship. We tend to think that whatever number of calories we burn in a workout will result in the same amount of weight loss. (In other words, if we burn 100 calories we should see a net 100 calorie reduction applied immediately. This is not the case. Here’s why. Imagine that your one hour workout is replacing sitting at your desk at work for an hour. Since you would have burned 60 calories by just sitting at your desk, the 100 calories that you burned working out instead is really a net calorie reduction of only 40 calories burned – since you would have burned the 60 doing what you always do. Of course, your workout will result in more than 100 burned calorie, but you get the idea of why the calorie burned is not a 1:1 calories in/calories burned situation when it comes to calculating your weight loss goals.)
In fact, the best way to lose weight and improve overall health is to follow a healthy, balanced diet and exercise regularly. Exercise alone will certainly give you important health benefits, but relying on only exercise to lose weight will likely give you disappointing weight loss results over the short-term. Does this mean you should skip the exercise in your weight loss plan? NO! Exercise has important health benefits such as improving heart and brain health and reducing the risk of cancer, diabetes, depression and a host of other ailments. Exercise is also a “Keystone Habit” which often leads to other good habits. Studies have shown that people who add regular exercise frequently embark on other “good” habits such as improving their diet or eating habits, reducing sugar, and quitting smoking – to name just a few.
Bottom line: Definitely exercise. If you want to lose weight faster, exercise and a healthy diet is your best approach.
Myth #6: Exercise takes a lot of time
FACT: Exercise does take time, but it doesn’t have to be an all-consuming activity. According to the USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services Dietary Guidelines for Americans (page 17 &18), adults should do at least 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity activity. That’s just 21 minutes per day.
A recent study published in the Journal of Physiology (March 2010) reported that doing just 20 minutes per day of moderate exercise can have significant health benefits. Moderate exercise can be something as simple as walking or working in your garden. The key is to do it daily.
Of course, you can do more vigorous exercise and even do it for longer periods of time and gain additional health benefits. This more intense exercise will burn calories faster and result in quicker weight loss – especially if coupled with a good diet plan.
Whichever way you choose to exercise, follow the NIKE slogan: Just do it!
Myth #7: “No Pain, No Gain”
FACT: The truth is you should never feel pain while you are working out. Perhaps a bit of strain, but no actual pain. Pain is an indication that there is something not quite right about the exercise that you are doing. If you feel pain, stop before you injure yourself.
Your workouts should be challenging but not painful. Some minor soreness the day after a moderate or challenging workout is not uncommon. This is a normal response, especially if you are new to exercising. This muscle soreness is usually caused by very small tears in your muscle that occur as you exercise. These microscopic tears result in inflammation and soreness that may last a couple of days. The good news is that these muscle tears are an essential step in the process of building more muscle.
Bottom line: Pain during exercise is bad. Minor soreness after exercise is usually good.
If you want see other other myths not included here, check out one of these articles:
I hope that you have enjoyed reading about and thinking about some of the diet and exercise myths that I have covered over the past two weeks. If you are interested in going further in learning about these and other related health topics, check out my post next Monday. It will include about a dozen links to articles and other websites that contain information on these and related topics.
Also, check out my specials. And please feel free to share this information with your friends and family.
To your health.