Don’t believe everything you hear at the gym. Dr. Brian Parr is a professor of Sports Science at the University of South Carolina, and he says that a lot of bad exercise information has been repeated so often that most people, even experts, think it’s true. So, here’s the science behind three workout rules that may be stopping you from getting fit:
- No pain, no gain. Not true. According to The British Journal of Sports Medicine, people who avoid pain at the gym actually get the best results. Why? Because when you enjoy an exercise program, you’re more likely to stick with it.
- Should you stretch before working out to prevent injury? Nope. This particular myth has endured forever because we often confuse stretching with warming up. So, here’s the difference: Warming up gradually raises your heart rate, and increased blood flow makes your muscles and joints more elastic, which prevents injuries, but static stretching, like touching your toes, doesn’t raise your heart rate, or warm up your muscles. Still, stretching will slowly improve your range of motion, so, incorporate it into your cool-down after your aerobic exercise.
- It's dangerous to start exercising when you’re older. No way! This is an exercise myth that only helps companies that sell walkers and scooter chairs. A study of 1,800 seniors proved that people who began exercise programs after age 65 lived longer, and led more active lives than those who didn’t. Of course, if you’ve been a couch potato for 40 years, you need to start slowly. But once you get going, you’ll find that your memory’s sharper, you’re less anxious, and your chronic aches and pains will greatly improve.