Although some old fitness fictions, such as “no pain, no gain” and “spot reducing” are fading fast, plenty of other exercise misconceptions still exist. Here are some of the very common exercise myths as well as the not-so-common facts based on current exercise research.


Exercise Myth 1. You Will Burn More Fat If You Exercise Longer at a Lower Intensity.

Contrary to the common belief, the most important focus in exercise and weight control is NOT the percentage of exercise energy coming from fat. It should be the total energy cost, or how many calories are burned during the activity. For example, the faster you walk, step or run, the more calories you use per minute. However, high-intensity exercise is difficult to sustain if you are just beginning or returning to exercise, so you may not exercise very long at this level. It is safer, and more practical, to start out at a lower intensity and work your way up gradually.

Exercise Myth 2. If You’re Not Going to Work Out Hard and Often, Exercise Is a Waste of Time.

This myth keeps a lot of people from maintaining or even starting an exercise program. Research continues to show that any exercise is better than none. For example, regular walking or gardening for as little as an hour a week has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease.

Exercise Myth 3. Yoga Is a Completely Gentle and Safe Exercise.

Yoga is an excellent form of exercise, but some styles are quite rigorous and demanding both physically and mentally. As with any form of exercise, qualified and careful instruction is necessary for a safe, effective workout.


Exercise Myth 4. If You Exercise Long and Hard Enough, You Will Always Get the Results You Want.

In reality, genetics plays an important role in how people respond to exercise. As with all responses to exercise, weight gain or loss is influenced by many factors, including dietary intake and lifestyle. All individuals will not lose the same amount of weight on the same exercise program. Studies have shown a wide variation in how different exercisers respond to the same training program. Your development of strength, speed and endurance may be very different from that of other people you know. A tailored program by an experienced personal trainer will help in ensuring success in reaching your fitness goals.


Exercise Myth 5. If You Want to Lose Weight, Stay Away From Strength Training Because You Will Bulk Up.

Most exercise experts believe that cardiovascular exercise and strength training are both valuable for maintaining a healthy weight. Strength training helps maintain muscle mass, decrease body fat percentage, raises your metabolism and supports functional movement for daily living. Make sure you get your dose of resistance training twice a week.


Exercise Myth 6. Overweight People Are Unlikely to Benefit Much From Exercise.

Studies show that obese people who participate in regular exercise programs have a lower risk of all-cause mortality than sedentary individuals, regardless of weight. Both men and women of all sizes and fitness levels can improve their health with modest increases in activity. For people who had been sedentary and are overweight, it is important to seek medical clearance prior to starting on an exercise program. Embarking on a regular exercise program will be a sure way towards a better quality of life.


*Reference: 10 Exercise Myths, IDEA FitnessConnect2014,

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