We all react to exercise a little differently. So what's true for one person may not be true for another. Sometimes you have to find your own 'exercise truths' – what works for you.
Before you start any new fitness program, it's wise to consult with your doctor – especially if you're 45 or older. Here are some exercise “rules” that may or may not make sense for you.
Rule or Myth? – No pain, no gain.
- You do need to make an effort. But you don't need to work out to the point of exhaustion or pain if your goal is to be healthier.
- Moderately intense activity, or very short/limited bursts of intense activity (interval training) done regularly, is enough.
Rule or Myth? – You should push yourself with every workout.
- More isn’t always better. Too much of this good thing can lead to injuries or giving up on exercise.
- Pushing too hard for too long makes it harder to bounce back and you may constantly feel achy or sore.
Rule or Myth? – No cardio while strength training.
- Whether or not to do weight training and cardio on the same day has long been debated.
- You need both cardio and strength training for the best results.
Rule or Myth? – Running outside is always your best bet.
- Running is a great workout, but the force of your body weight on your joints causes stress.
- Reduce knee impact by varying your workout. Mix running with other cardio activities, like an elliptical machine or a stationary bike to reduce impact on your knees.
Rule or Myth? – Rest between sets.
- To get a complete workout in a shorter period of time, rest less between sets.
- This increases your burn and adds a cardio component to strength training.
Rule or Myth? – Eat lots of extra protein for more muscle tone.
- Protein does help you build and keep strong muscles, but eating more calories than you need can mean weight gain and a sluggish or run-down feeling.
Rule or Myth? – Do crunches for a flat tummy.
- Abdominal workouts are great for developing core muscles, but it’s body fat that prevents abs from making an appearance.
- To burn fat, create a workout that includes both cardio and strength training. This will decrease your overall body fat content.
Rule or Myth? – Exercise smarter, not longer.
- A well-rounded fitness plan includes flexibility, mobility, balance and core training, cardiovascular exercise, and strength training.
- Combining these elements into one workout session will give you the most bang for your buck.
Rule or Myth? – Run fast to get fast.
- Always running fast is counterproductive and will inevitably lead to poor performance.
- The trick is to balance your fast runs and your slower runs.