Diet and Exercise. Those two go together like peanut butter and jelly. They are the first pieces of advice for anyone trying to lose weight. Both of these things are important pieces of the puzzle that is getting healthy, but that is the key. They are just pieces, neither is the whole thing. While both diet and exercise get a lot of talk, I think sometimes that exercise gets more of the emphasis. This emphasis creates some myths about exercise and its role in a healthy lifestyle. Today I want to address some of those myths so you can better incorporate exercise into your life and health!
1. Exercise is the best way to lose weight
Exercise is great and I’m not going to bash it or anything like that. But exercise really isn’t the only or best way to lose weight. Don’t get me wrong, exercise does help you lose weight, but it isn’t as big a factor as you might think. Your body is a very tricky thing when it comes to exercise. It likes to be efficient in all things and it will always find the easiest way to go about its daily tasks. After you have been exercising awhile your body will adapt to the change and you will actually burn fewer calories every time you workout. This doesn’t mean exercise is a hopeless cause, you just have to be smart about it. Try different workouts, different intensities, different times, and don’t rely totally on exercise to get the body or health that you want. The food you put in your body is what you really want to focus on but more on that later.
2. Exercise has to be vigorous/hard/long or it doesn’t count
This one took awhile for me to wrap my head around. When I first really started getting into exercising I thought that I had to be dripping in sweat, lying on the ground exhausted, or sore beyond belief for my body to get the full benefit of exercise. Soooooo not true. You don’t have to destroy your body in order to reap all the good stuff that comes with exercise, and in fact, that can lead to injury and burnout. Vigorous exercise does have its time and place, hard workouts aren’t evil, and sometimes you have the time for a longer workout. But there are times when it’s better to take it easy, do a shorter workout, or even have a rest day. You need to listen to your body and give it what it needs not beat it up just because you think that is the only way to get fit.
3. Exercise will cancel out any “bad” food that I eat
This common myth is one of my biggest pet peeves. I hate when I hear someone say, “Oh it doesn’t matter what I eat, I work out.” It seriously makes me want to rage throw a table. But instead of throwing tables, I am going to calmly address this myth right now. First, don’t put food into a good group or a bad group. Food is food, not a miracle and not evil. There are better choices that will benefit your health, but you shouldn’t feel guilty about eating anything. You’re an adult you can choose what to eat. Second, the saying you can’t out exercise a bad diet is SO TRUE. You can’t just eat a piece of cake go run 3 miles to “burn it off” and be healthy. The first problem with that mindset is that exercise doesn’t burn as many calories as most people think (see first myth). The second problem is that in order to function, as well as exercise, you need to get certain nutrients. If you are constantly filling your body with things like cake and cookies and processed food your body is missing out on vital things it needs. The last problem with this is that getting in the habit of working out just to cancel out what you eat is a really good way to develop exercise bulimia. Exercise bulimia is a very real and serious disorder that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Choose the food that will help you reach your health goals and the exercise that makes you feel better.
Exercise is good, it has tons of benefits, and it works in tandem with a healthy diet to make you feel your best. Just make sure you aren’t falling for some of these common myths and use exercise to your advantage.
What is one thing about exercise that you found wasn’t true?