Health myths: exposed!

Lyssa Beyer

You aren’t working hard enough if you aren’t dripping in sweat
Myth. How much you sweat depends on much more than just how hard you are working. Your body temperature, the clothes you are wearing, genetics and more determine how much you sweat. “Some people can get in a great workout without breaking much of a sweat,” said Chris Hoover, fitness supervisor at the Jewish Community Center in St. Louis, Mo. “And then there’s the guy who sweats when he does bicep curls.”

If you stop exercising, your muscles will turn to fat
Myth. Muscle tissue and fat tissue are completely different, Hoover says. If you stop exercising, your muscle will become smaller and perhaps experience atrophy. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you will get fat. You’ll gain weight only if you keep eating the way you were when you were exercising. If you eat less to make up for not burning calories, you won’t get fat.

As you age, you will lose muscle and gain fat
Myth. Though there is some truth to this, it’s not an absolute. As you age, your metabolism decreases, but resistance training can increase and help you maintain lean muscle mass. “You can maintain your muscle, you just have to work a little harder,” Hoover says.

Stretching isn’t important because it won’t make you thinner
Myth. Most people skip flexibility training because they think it doesn’t have a direct impact on their fitness. But if you think about the fact that without proper stretching you could become injured, thus missing many workouts, it’s vital, Jeremy Koerber, lead exercise specialist at BJC WellAware Center, says. It’s also important to maintain your body’s range of motion as you age.

– Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Health Myths Exposed! is a bi-weekly feature highlighting common health and fitness misconceptions compiled by money/health editor Tara Bannow.