While taking up exercise is a great habit to cultivate, most people tend to stop when they cannot keep up with the goals they have set for themselves. Most people demand way too much of themselves when it comes to the frequency and types of exercise to do in order to achieve their fitness goals. However, starting way too hard and following terrible fitness advice mounts pressure and make exercise non-enjoyable leading to many people who take this approach either crashing and burning or just giving up when they cannot see the results fast enough. Since there is a lot of information touted across online and physical platforms with regard to exercise, it is up to you to find out which of this is a myth and which is fact.  In fact the most popular myth is about the amount of exercise you need. The recommendations by various sources differ and this can get confusing to someone starting out and be a bone of contention when they cannot seem to attain their fitness goals as fast as they would like to. How much exercise is really needed?

Exercise Myths

You Should Exercise Daily to See Results

While most people follow a daily exercising plan such as a morning or evening jog, an hour at the gym or a fitness class, the notion that you have to exercise on a daily basis for you to reap the benefits is a myth. Unless you are an athlete training for a competition or game, staying active is the main goal. Exercise the number of times you are comfortable with per week, take walks, take up an active activity and generally, reduce the amount of time spent sitting around at your computer. This has the result of getting your heart pumping without the pressure of dedicating an hour or two of each day to a fitness routine.

The “No Pain No Gain” Myth

Related to the question of how much exercise you need is the “no pain no gain” myth where people believe that you should experience aches and soreness as proof that indeed, your workout is working. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, if an exercise causes you stress and pain, you are doing it wrong and it is not the right choice for you. While you should push yourself in order to make exercise a habit you do easily, you should however enjoy yourself, be injury free and feel better at the end of the workout than you felt before you started it. You don’t have to go to the gym every day just so that you can feel the workout routine is working. It is okay to take a break and instead go four times. You also don’t have to withstand belittling comments from a trainer just to spur you on. They might be counterintuitive and make you less motivated to make your appointment. If you are getting a trainer, get one who encourages you positively and keeps you motivated to keep at your routine. Enjoying your workout will make you look forward to the next session and hence enable you to cultivate an active lifestyle and exercising habit with ease and keep going even after you reach your fitness goals.

You Are Not Exercising Hard Enough If You Have Not Worked Up a Sweat

A popular myth seems to indicate that for you to gauge how hard you are exercise and consequently, how much more effective your workout is, you have to be sweating buckets! However, sweating does not indicate that you are exerting yourself but rather, it is the body’s mechanism of cooling itself. Hence, you can be burning fat and calories even without actually sweating. Light weight lifting, light body weights and a walk may not work up a sweat but they are still exercises that keep you active and have numerous benefits.

Spot Reduction Works

This myth has led many people to target specific parts of their bodies while ignoring the rest. However, you cannot just do abs exercises and see a flat stomach after a while. It is a combination of many techniques that will help you realize such a goal. This involves burning calories, getting quality sleep, keeping stress levels at a minimum, eating healthy and being consistently active while choosing several exercises to make up your fitness routine instead of focusing on only one. The truth is, while exercise helps in keeping you fit, a healthy diet is paramount to helping you reap maximum benefits and maintain the results of your exercise.

Others

Other myths include those that propagate the idea that deep squats hurt your knees. However, a deep squat is a natural movement we use with ease when young to pick things off the floor. It gets less easy and practicing deep squats is helpful in making the joints and muscles involved less stiff. Another myth is that you can exercise away the calories resulting from bad eating habits. This is false as a terrible diet takes a toll on every part of your body and cannot be erased by exercise. Eating healthy complements exercise by allowing you to achieve fitness goals faster and maintain a healthy active lifestyle. Yet a bigger myth popularized in the fitness world is that sports drinks while exercising helps replenish the minerals and electrolytes lost by your body.  This can apply to a high intensity workout lasting for more than hour but for regular exercise, good old water is more than enough.

So, How Much Is Really Needed?

According to the American Heart Association and the American College of Sports Medicine, you need at least two and a half hours of distributed moderate intensity exercise every week. This means you should try and put in 30 minutes of exercise five times a week. Unfortunately with busy careers and personal lives, sometimes it may not be possible to do this every week. In the case where you have limited time, staking up high intensity workouts will reduce the recommended 30 minutes by half. For this reason the high intensity interval training(HIIT) keeps gaining popularity for people whose busy careers allows them little free time that they can dedicate towards exercising. Another reason why HIIT is popular besides requiring less time is because it can be done anywhere at any time so long as you are capable and motivated enough to take it up.

Why is it important enough to get regular exercise? While you shouldn’t overdo your exercising in terms of the type of workouts as well as the amount of time you take at working out and the frequency, regular exercise has numerous physical and mental benefits. Regular exercise has a positive impact on mental health as it can help improve depression, anxiety, stress, low mood and sleep disturbances. It helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels and reduces the risk of your getting lifestyle conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease, stroke, heart disease and diabetes.  It also inculcates in you, a culture of being active which helps you evade a sedentary life that is rife with many health problems. Being active helps you feel better, perform better and look better in the various aspects of your life.

“Consistency breeds ease and soon, you will have eased into a habit of exercising.”

According to research study in the American Journal of Hypertension, while 61 to 90 minutes workout per week is great at reducing blood pressure when compared to 30 to 60 minutes, workouts exceeding 90 minutes did not have any added effect in reducing blood pressure. Yet another research by the Breast Cancer Research and Treatment found that every hour spent running at a vigorous pace or four hours walking at a brisk pace each week reduced the risk of breast cancer by 3 percent. In regard to mental health a research from the Harvard Special Health Report indicated that a 35 minute daily brisk walk five times a week improves mild and moderate depression. On the other hand, a 15 minute daily brisk walk five times a week was less effective in improving depression.

In the world of fitness, it is not the amount of exercise you cram into a session, the length of your session or even the type of exercise you do that really makes a difference. Instead, it is how consistent you are with your exercise. Do you start working out only to give it up after a week then take it up again after a month is lapsed? In that case, the main reason why you are not reaping any benefits or even inching closer to your goals is because you are not consistency. Consistency breeds ease and soon, you will have eased into a habit as important as the everyday breakfast you have each morning. However to build consistency doesn’t mean you have to overly exert yourself each day until you ache all over as some myths suggest. It just means making exercising a manageable and enjoyable habit that raises your heart rate and strengthens your muscles while building endurance. It could be three, four, five or six times a week. As long as you enjoy it and don’t feel pressured you can build the active lifestyle and reap its numerous benefits!

So, are you ready to give it a try?

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