If you’ve been following the presidential race, you know that what people define as “facts” can vary from things that have been proven, to things that certain groups of people believe with no basis whatsoever. It’s possible that the only subject that is more prone to false facts than politics is health. This happens for a number of reasons; the truth is, there’s still a lot about our bodies that science is still figuring out. In other cases, they are old-school beliefs that arose long before anyone had any idea what was actually going on. Also, unfortunately, some of the false facts you’ve been told to believe (in some cases for decades!) are financially motivated. The marketing machine is in full effect when it comes to your body and self-image. Regardless of the reason, here are 25 Health “Facts” That Just Aren’t True.
Crunches are the core of building six-pack abs.
For years it was sit-ups; then they amended it to crunches to better avoid back injury and focus the exercise. Unfortunately, crunches are still generally bad for your back, and no matter how many you do, they won’t magically give you that six-pack. There’s a number of reasons for this, but the primary issue is that bringing those muscles out requires fat burning exercises and diet to thin your layer of belly fat.
In addition, crunches only target a small percentage of your abdominal muscles, leading to something closer to a four-pack with those alone. Finally, for some of us, genetics plays a huge issue. You may be able out-perform somebody with chiseled abs all day long and not show nearly as much as they do simply because of how your genetics manage your body fat.
The takeaway is that rather than focusing on aesthetics, build strength with the right exercises (such as planks!) with a good cardio program, and be consistent. If you must do crunches, do them on a yoga ball to minimize impact on your lower back, and research better and more effective exercises to build your core.
Less than 45 minutes of sweat isn’t worth the effort.
You’ve heard that old saying, “Go hard, or go home!” but while the spirit is admirable, science says otherwise. There is no set time that needs to pass before you enjoy the benefits of movement. Any movement for any amount of time is healthier than not moving (in any normal case anyway). Research out of the University of Arizona concluded that average people had consistently lower blood-pressure readings when they split their (already shorter) daily walk into three segments of just 10 minutes, rather than a single 30 minute stroll. So don’t use time as an excuse to skip your workout. If you don’t have time to go all the way, do what you can…or at least take a walk.
Lifting weights will make a woman bulk-up and appear less feminine.
The conclusion a lot of people jump to as soon as they see a click-bait image of an extremely muscular figure competition participant (like this one), is that the final result of a girl who decides to lift weights is masculine and “she-hulk” like. Not only is that naturally not true, but the women who want to be that muscular have to work very, very hard to get there.
Women have to try harder to bulk up, in-part because they naturally have less testosterone and human growth hormone in their systems than their male counterparts. Not only do they have to dramatically increase their calorie intake, but they are in the gym a minimum of four-six times a week. In short, it’s an intentional, very focused effort.
In contrast, a girl can add strength, shape, and tone to her body by lifting one to three times a week. This variable allows women to train for the results they want, and most certainly won’t add bulk unless they choose to take it to the next level. If a girl is consistent with her preferred level of workout, she can lift to shape her body with specific exercises into whatever form makes her feel her best.
Focusing exercise on a specific part of your body will burn that fat faster.
While it seems logical, fat burning just doesn’t work like that. The pattern of fat gain or loss has more to do with each person’s unique body than where exercise is focused. Fat is burned on a more even basis and is primarily accomplished by the dreaded cardio or aerobic exercises.
More gym time is always better than less.
Having helped train some of my friends in the past, I was always a huge advocate of balancing your work days and rest days. (In all honesty, these days the majority of my days are rest days…but I digress) To this day, I see people in my social networks that are overtraining, have horrible form, and stick to the same routine every week. All of these things are a great way to reduce your returns and possibly hurt yourself.
Valerie Waters and Ashley Borden, both high profile celebrity trainers, agree and say that scheduling rest days is crucial. Recovery days allow your body to rebound and improve, which is where gains come from. In addition, regularly mixing up your workout keeps you from stressing the same parts of your body every week, which will help to avoid injury.