There are many myths surrounding exercise, but some of them surface more than others. Here’s a quick look at three myths you absolutely MUST know:
Myth #1: “I don’t have time to exercise.”
This one is probably the most common myth. While it’s true that we live in a culture that goes nonstop, we still find and make time for what we think is important. But let’s be honest…is it that you really don’t have time to exercise or is it that you do not MAKE time to exercise? On your list of priorities, where does exercise fall—if it is on your list at all? Sometimes we say we don’t have time to exercise because we just don’t want to exercise. So settle that issue first—then take a look at your schedule.
You may not think that you have time to exercise, but be realistic—and just add exercise to your life. It is neither difficult nor time-consuming. If you're waiting for the perfect time to exercise, there is no “perfect” time. Some people wait for their schedules to magically ease up, for the weather to cool off or heat up, for school to end or start—or some other future nebulous event. The truth is, there's never a right or good time to get moving—you simply CHOOSE to.
Here are some ways to jump start your exercise routine:
• Choose Exercise You Enjoy: If your reason for not exercising is really that you don’t want to (and not that you don’t have time), then choose some exercises you enjoy. Exercise does not seem like such a task then.
• Integrate Exercise into Your Schedule: If your reason really is that you believe you don’t have time to exercise, then find ways to integrate exercise into your schedule—such as walking in the morning, during your lunch break or after dinner, etc.
• Realize You Don’t Need a Lot of Time to Exercise: Just 10 or so minutes a few times throughout the day is all you need. In addition to walking or stretching, even house chores count—and will streamline your efforts and time.
Myth #2: “If I can’t exercise for a certain amount of time a day, every day, then I might as well not exercise.”
Don't believe this all-or-nothing attitude. The truth is that there are enormous benefits to doing just a little exercise daily. Studies show that even a half-hour walk three or more times a week significantly reduces your risk of heart attack and stroke, lowers blood pressure, relieves stress and boosts your energy and immune system.
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) advises people to get at least 30 minutes of moderate activity on most—or preferably all—days of the week. But if you can't, don't let that stop you from taking a short, single walk. Even minimal exercise has benefits.
Some people think they don't have the time to exercise (the first myth) and they think, since they can't do ALL of the exercising they should, then why do ANY of it? Remember that any exercise is better than no exercise, even if it's only a 10 or 15-minute walk. Being physically active makes you healthier—so even if you can't make it to the gym you have no excuse not to do something active each day.
Myth #3: “If there’s no pain, there’s no gain”
"No pain, no gain" is no good when it comes to developing a lifelong fitness plan, but many people still believe that you have to work at a very high intensity in order to get a benefit. However, this myth can cause physical damage.
Physical pain is your body's urgent signal to change or stop a dangerous activity. You need to always avoid serious discomfort or strain when exercising. While it is true that to increase muscle and develop endurance you may need to experience a slight level of discomfort—discomfort is not pain.
For a decent workout, make sure that the exercise is a moderate-intensity—that is, equivalent to walking at a pace of three to four miles an hour. Moderate-intensity exercise has nearly as many benefits as high-intensity exercise—without the pain. Ongoing high-intensity workouts can actually create excessive wear and tear on your body—causing much pain and little overall gain.
Now that we’ve busted these myths, there shouldn’t be much standing between you and exercise. So get going!