Most people have a favorite fitness routine. They also hear all sorts of tips about exercises that they think are effective. Unfortunately, many are more fiction than fact.

Most people have a favorite fitness routine. They also hear all sorts of tips about exercises that they think are effective. Unfortunately, not all of those tips are true. Many are more fiction than fact.

Fitness experts have heard countless exercise myths and half-truths over the years. The stories often get started because people react to different exercises in different ways. What works for you might not work for your friend.

Some of these myths can get in the way of a safe and productive workout so the experts do everything they can to set the record straight. Despite those efforts some stories just won’t go away. Here are five fitness myths that need to be busted:


This one has been around forever because it’s easy to remember and fun to say. It may also be the most harmful myth around. There is a big difference between muscle soreness and pain. You should expect some muscle soreness after a workout, but that’s different from pain during your workout. Exercises should not hurt while you do them. If an exercise hurts, stop. Pain may mean that you are doing it wrong or that you already have an injury. Also, if your muscles are still sore for days after a workout you are working too hard. Ease up, and take a day off to let your body recover.


Sorry, but they don’t. Crunches strengthen and tone your abdominal muscles but they don’t burn off the fat that covers your potential sixpack abs. If you want to see what crunches accomplish you have to reduce your overall body fat with cardiovascular exercise, strength-training, and a healthy diet. We will see those nicely toned abs once you lose the weight.


It doesn’t matter if it’s on a treadmill, on an outdoor track or cross-country, running, not the running surface, puts stress on your knees. If you want to reduce the impact on your knees, mix running with aerobic activities on a stationary bike or an elliptical machine.


Speaking of exercise machines, they can only help you get the most out of your fitness routine when they are adjusted properly. Some exercise machines can actually hurt you if they are not adjusted to your height and weight. These adjustments put your body and the machine in the correct position to perform the exercise properly. If not adjusted properly, you run the same risk on an exercise machine as you do with any other type of workout.


There’s a simple reason that this is generally not true. Women do not have the right hormones to gain bulky muscle. That requires testosterone. Most men have plenty of testosterone, but most women do not. Experts at the Johns Hopkins Weight Management Center say lifting weights helps women look long and lean because it builds muscle, increases strength, and boosts metabolism. You also burn more calories on a daily basis when your body has more muscle than fat.

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BOH June 19, 2012 at 04:59 PM
The treadmill item is a bit misleading. Not all running is the same. Footstrike, gait, body composition, nutrition, etc. all factor into the effects of running on joints, but surface does as well. A harder surface absorbs less shock, so even if the difference is less than is commonly believed, it's factually incorrect that the surface does not matter. Pounding the pavement 50mi./wk. is generally a good deal harder on one's body than 50mi./wk. on smooth, compacted dirt.


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