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Health and Fitness Myths: The Truth Revealed

In the health and fitness world, there are thousands of myths and legends that often dictate our routines. The list spans far and wide, from banned food groups for losing weight to fitness fads that are simply bizarre. 2017 has had its own array of new additions, and no doubt, 2018 will also. However, we’ve chosen a few of our favourites, and are here to reveal the truth behind the myths so that you can get the best out of your health:

A man recovering from a rugby injury hoh

Myth #1

Thinner People are Healthier than Heavier People.

Truth: This is absolutely not the case, as an ideal weight will vary greatly from person to person. Weight is by no means the best indicator of how healthy someone is, as everyone’s bodies work in different ways to metabolise food, pump your blood and carry out many other functions that can affect your health. There are many, many factors that contribute to your overall health, including diet, exercise levels and any existing health issues. Although weight may be a factor if you are under or overweight, skinnier does not mean always healthier.

Myth #2

You Should Drink Eight Glasses of Water a Day.

Truth: Although eight glasses is a good number to use as a guide, the actual recommended daily intake of water will depend on your body and your activity levels. It is of great importance to stay hydrated throughout the day and there are many different tools that you can use online which will give you a rough estimate. However, the best way to ensure you drink enough water is to listen to your body. Ensure that you don’t reach the point of ever actually being thirsty by regularly sipping water. Research suggests that the best way to monitor your water intake is by assessing the colour of your urine, darker colouring means dehydration, while paler colouring is healthy.

Myth #3

You Can Target Specific Areas of Your Body for Fat Loss.

Truth: Many people think that by doing 10,000 sit-ups a day this will get rid of belly fat; however, this is simply not the way our bodies work. This will certainly make your stomach muscles stronger and will tone your body, but the layer of fat will still remain. The way to target this is to lose body fat overall by changing your exercise routine and your diet.

Myth #4

Running is the Best Way to Lose Weight.

Truth: Although running is an exercise that can help you to lose weight, it is certainly not the best way, especially when done alone. This kind of exercise will increase your metabolic rate slightly, but will return to normal just a few short hours after you’ve finished your workout. The best way to lose weight is through a combination of diet and exercise. Your exercises should be shorter and more intense, combining strength and cardio together to work your body to the best of its ability.

Myth #5

Low-fat Products are Better for You Than Full Fat.

Truth: Low-fat products often have added sugars or carbs to better the flavour as the fat content often holds a large proportion of the flavour. The added sugars and carbs often go unnoticed and are certainly not better for your body than the fats themselves. Research has proven time and time again that fat is an important part of our diet, as long as it is eaten in moderation, so do opt for the full-fat versions, even if you’re on a diet.

Myth #6

No Pain, No Gain.

Truth: If your muscles don’t ache during or after a workout, that doesn’t mean that you’ve not worked hard enough or not tried your best. After a long training session, people often experience DOMS, this is where your muscles ache and help your body to repair. Although this isn’t a bad thing, it certainly shouldn’t be used as an indicator of the success of your workout as it can vary greatly from person to person, and the more you train the more your muscles will adapt.

Myth #7

Exercising Means You Can Eat a Load of Junk Food Without the Consequences.

Truth: Research shows that weight loss, health and fitness is an 80/20 split between eating right and exercising. However, as the split shows, your food intake is an essential factor. If you’re trying to lose weight and are finding that it isn’t going very well, you might want to re-evaluate your diet, as this is likely the cause. It’s important to enjoy food treats now and then, so don’t feel guilty for doing so, it just needs to be done in moderation. Eating poorly and smashing the gym for hours on end will ultimately have a negative effect on your body as it is not being fuelled correctly.

Myth #8

You Should Only Eat Egg Whites and Not the Yolks.

Many fitness fanatics have vowed never to eat the yolk of an egg as it is deemed bad for your cholesterol. However, the yolk is packed with nutrients, vitamins, minerals and proteins that are essential to your body. The white is essentially fat-free and very low calorie, so will not keep you feeling full for very long. Make the most of the whole egg and indulge in those yolks!

Myth #9

You Should Work Out Every Day.

Truth: The importance of rest is often greatly overlooked in the fitness world, however, it is an essential part of building muscle, losing weight and remaining healthy. A common misconception is that the more time you spend in the gym or working out, the more progress you will see. Resting helps to prevent injuries, repair and rebuild muscle, and to help you recover from the intensity of your workout. Every training schedule should include a minimum of one day’s rest a week and can be highly dependent on the routine itself. Resting when you sustain an injury is an incredibly important part of the recovery process. If you have a rugby injury, for example, you may need several days and a Physicool cooling bandage to reduce the swelling and the pain; continuing to exercise will often make the injury far worse.

Are there any other myths you’d like to hear the truth about? Let us know in the comments and we’ll include it in our next myth feature!

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