Chances are you already know that it’s important to get in shape. Everyone from doctors to our families remind us that exercise improves our health, boosts our mood, and makes us look more attractive.
That doesn’t mean embracing a fitness routine is easy. There are many reasons why some people struggle to start an exercise program. Sometimes, it’s linked to a misconception about fitness. If you fall prey to certain fitness myths, it could zap your motivation to work out. Don’t let that happen to you. Here’s the truth behind many of the popular misconceptions that may have kept you out of the gym.
Myth #1: You’re Too Old to Get in Shape
Age is a factor that impacts how easy it is for someone to get fit. As you get older, you may develop physical limitations that prevent you from safely participating in certain forms of exercise. That’s why it’s often a good idea to coordinate with a physical therapist or personal trainer if you’re trying to get in shape during your golden years.
However, don’t fall prey to the belief that you can’t get physically fit after a certain age. Research shows that you can rebuild muscles at any age. The same is true for weight loss. While it does become harder to keep pounds off as you get older, you can still lose weight if you commit to a fitness program and maintain a balanced diet.
Myth #2: It’s Expensive
A gym membership makes exercise more fun. It’s easier to find exercises you enjoy when you have access to a wide range of classes and equipment. Of course, some people feel they can’t justify the expense of a fitness center membership as the average cost is about $60 a month.
Fortunately, while a gym offers resources to make workouts a more enjoyable experience, it’s by no means the only way to work out. And you don’t need fancy equipment to get in some quality exercise time. You can get fit at virtually no cost with basic cardio and bodyweight exercises. And you can still burn calories and build muscle. The results don’t change simply because you’re not using the latest workout machines at the gym.
Myth #3: You Need Extreme Exercise Routines to See Results
People who avoid exercise often believe they need to push themselves far beyond their limits to see any benefits. But in reality, the reverse is true. Even something as simple as a brisk walk for half an hour each day can help you burn an extra 150 calories. That adds up sooner than you might realize. Although it does take time to lose a substantial amount of weight from walking, it’s possible.
Your goal should be to gradually push your limits to a degree that’s comfortable for you and that your doctor approves. For instance, if you start with a brisk walk, you might reach a point where you’re comfortable switching to a jog. As you begin to jog regularly, you might even run a marathon one day!
In the meantime, don’t assume that the only way to get into shape is to punish your body. Any degree of exercise can yield benefits if you stay committed.
Myth #4: It’s Too Time Consuming
You should make it a point to devote a reasonable portion of your day to work out. You’ll get better results if you take the time to complete an exercise routine and stay committed. That said, if you have a busy lifestyle, you can still get in shape without ruining your schedule. You simply need to choose the right type of exercise. For example, you might consider high intensity interval training (HIIT). It’s an effective approach to workouts as you exercise at a high level of intensity in short bursts. In between the energy bursts, you take it easy. For instance, a runner who adopts the HIIT approach might sprint for 30 seconds, jog for two minutes, sprint for another 30 seconds, jog for another two minutes, and repeat this pattern until tired.
HIIT offers many of the same benefits as moderate exercise but in much shorter periods of time. In fact, just one hour of HIIT a week (consisting of multiple workouts performed over the course of a few days) can help you get in shape just as effectively as 150 minutes of moderate weekly exercise. Almost everyone can find one hour over the course of a week to devote to fitness. With HIIT, all you do is work out for 20 minutes, three days a week, to see the same results you’d get from two and a half hours of exercise each week.
Let’s be honest—if you have time to read this article, you have time to exercise. It’s also worth noting, that exercise can be incorporated into other activities to help you save time. For instance, a single hour of shopping can burn as much as 175 calories. That doesn’t mean going to the mall is a substitute for a workout. It simply means there are likely many other daily activities and tasks that, when performed a little more vigorously, can help you get into shape.
Myth #5: Exercise Kind of Sucks
If you’re the type of person who’s hesitant to work out because you think of it as a chore, you’re in good company. It’s a common attitude among people who haven’t yet adopted fitness plans. However, odds are good your opinion will change once you start to work out regularly.
There’s even research to back this up. In one study, participants completed 12 months of a maintenance exercise program designed for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. At the end of the study, all reported a positive attitude toward exercise.
Working out is also known to promote the release of endorphins in the brain. These natural painkillers can create a feeling similar to those produced by drugs but in a healthy way. This is why people often begin to crave exercise when they work out regularly. It makes you feel good. You just need to get used to it. In some cases, you’ll even sleep better.
So, now you know! Myths about fitness are plentiful. Some people might even use them as excuses not to exercise. But they shouldn’t keep you from working out. Find affordable ways to exercise that save time and are enjoyable to motivate yourself to work out on a regular basis. Embrace fitness and you’ll reap the benefits of a healthier lifestyle in no time.
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