Untangling the Fiction from the Facts: Truths about Exercise

Do you remember playing “Telephone” (sometimes called “Grapevine”) as a kid?

It’s a game where you’d whisper a message in a friend’s ear, that friend would whisper it to someone else and this continued on and on, from person to person, until the final message was comically distorted by the time it reached the last person

What might have started out as, “My favorite flower is a rose,” became something like, “My father has no nose,” by the time it reached the last person.

Weird things happen when we move information from person to person. The messages can get garbled and have no bearing to what was first communicated.

This holds true with the messages we get about exercise. So to debunk some of the things we heard through the grapevine about exercise, let’s talk person-to person, with no middle-(wo)men to misinterpret the facts:

  • Contrary to infomericals and weekly tabloid headlines, there is no such thing as being able to take weight off in specific areas of your body by doing exercises that target those areas. If you want to lose those love handles or firm up your thighs, you have to lose your overall body fat first.
  • Any type of physical activity has an impact on burning calories, so any time you move, it’s worth it. Sure, it helps tremendously to have a regular 20 -30 minute exercise routine most days of the week and I recommend it. But add extra movement throughout your day to complement your regular workout. Every little bit helps a lot!
  • You don’t have to pant for air and practically fall-over from exhaustion for a workout to count. Forget the all-or-nothing mentality when it comes to exercise. The important thing is to start exercising…period. Once you get into the groove, then build upon your workout slowly. Fitness does not live or die by excrutiating 60-minue workouts. You should never feel pain as you’re exercising.
  • You don’t have to exercise before breakfast in order to burn more calories. From a practical perspective it does help a lot of people, though, because they get it in before their day even begins.
  • People who are overweight or older should not avoid exercise. Before anyone starts an exercise program, however, they should talk with their doctor first. Beginners should then start out easy and work their way up to a routine that benefits them.
  • Resistance (weight) training is a great add-on to aerobic exercise because it helps maintain or even increase muscle mass, boost metabolism and reduce fat Weight training can help you keep the muscle while you lose the fat. Women should not worry that weigh-training will make them look like a bodybuilder with big, bulging muscles. Bodybuilders do a lot of other things besides a typical strength training workout to bulk-up.
  • It only takes 10-12 weeks of regular exercise to become better “fit” but your health can improve after that first brisk walk. So,close your browser’s window, lace up your shoes and get your body moving!