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7 Exercise Myths You Probably Believe

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If you’ve ever set foot in a gym or talked to another person about exercise, chances are good you’ve heard some of these common exercise myths. Most are harmless and may, at worst, lead to disappointment, while others may actually lead to injury. There seems to be plenty of half-truths and outright myths flying around the world of fitness and exercise, many of which are deliberately promoted as truth in order to get you, the consumer, to buy that new pair of running shoes, sports drink or exercise video. As with most things, doing a little research ahead of time can save you time, money and frustration. Here, we’ve set out to debunk some common exercise myths that many people still think are cold, hard facts.

7. Treadmills Won’t Result in Knee Injuries

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While treadmills do offer a different running surface than you’ll find outdoors, thinking that running on a treadmill means you’re immune to knee injuries is just silly. Yes, treadmills are more bouncy than the road outside, so there’s less impact on your body, but your body also tends to make up for that fact by changing your stride pattern and posture. Also, since the belt of the treadmill does a lot of the work for you, there’s a chance you’ll end up with slightly weaker hamstrings than you’d develop running outdoors, and weak hamstrings can easily equal more injuries. Treadmills can be a great way to get your exercise in regardless of inclimate weather or other conditions, but never assume your knees and other joints are completely safe just because you’re on a treadmill! Always be careful to use the treadmill properly and pay attention to your body when you run. If you feel pain, slow down or step off.

6. Running Shoes Need to be Replaced Every Six Months

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For avid runners, a pair of good running shoes is a must-have, but do you really need to replace them every six months? Not exactly. The right time to replace your running shoes will actually depend on several factors, including your shoe size, the type of shoe you buy, how much and how often you run, how you run and other factors. So, when should you replace your running shoes? When they start showing signs of wear and tear or no longer support your feet when you run.

5. Proper Stretching Will Prevent Injuries

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Stretching before a workout is a no-brainer, right? Well, actually, warming up before a workout is a no-brainer, but that warm-up doesn’t necessarily need to be in the form of stretching. In fact, there’s some evidence that stretching before certain workouts actually decreases performance in some cases. This myth is widely debated, with pro-stretchers on one side and anti-stretchers on the other side. According to research, however, stretching offers very little benefit and has not been shown to reduce injury. Again, don’t confuse not stretching with not warming up at all. You should always warm up before your workout to prevent injury, and stretching after your workout can help relieve sore or tired muscles.

4. You Should Replenish Electrolytes During Exercise with a Sports Drink

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This myth is untrue in most cases, but not all. For example, if you’re running a marathon or triathalon, having a sports drink to replenish fluids and a boost of sugar to keep you going isn’t a bad idea, but for your average 45 minute run on the treadmill? You can skip the Gatorade and just drink water, instead. As a rule, sports drinks are really only beneficial when you’ll be working out at a high intensity for longer than an hour. In fact, if your goal is to lose weight, you’re likely doing yourself a disservice by guzzling that sports drink during or after exercise, since you’re essentially replacing all the calories you just worked so hard on burning off.

Laura uses her extensive background in the beauty industry to pass on invaluable tips and advice to her readers! Find Laura on LinkedIn!

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