Behind every ad promising thinner thighs in 5 days or “abs of steel” in only minutes a day, hides the truth. Yet as obesity becomes more prevalent, more people are getting sucked in by “too good to be true” ads. These offers typically perpetuate the myth that getting health is as easy as taking a pill. The truth is that good health involves a commitment to education and lifestyle changes. The reward of bypassing myths is a practical, sustainable approach to good health.
Uncovering health and wellness myths is the secret to realizing your health and fitness goals. Following are five of the most common myths that just may be preventing you from reaching your health and wellness goals.
5 Popular Health And Wellness Myths
You Can Eat Whatever You Want As Long As You Exercise
Although eating well gives your body the necessary nutrients to perform optimally, it’s never a good idea to overeat.
In order to achieve a healthy weight, you have to create a caloric deficit. For example, if you burned 300 calories during a workout but you consume 800 calories at lunch, you’ve completely negated your exercise. Now, if you’re not interested in losing weight, the calories may be irrelevant but the quality of the food you consume shouldn’t be. Eating well translates to feeling well and if you combine healthy food choices along with regular exercise you’ll not only feel great, you’ll likely look great too.
You Can Get A 6-pack From Doing Ab Exercises Everyday
Three words, no you can’t. In the book, Abs Revealed , author, Jonathan Ross writes,
Abs are just one group of muscles among many in the human body and are subject to the same scientific rules that govern all other muscles.
Genetics also plays a role in how your abs are revealed, so while some people easily develop defined abs, others may not. Ross believes in order to create a leaner body and more defined abs, a combination of healthy nutrition, and appropriate exercise intensity is a must.
The recipe for great abdominals is to train hard and smart, eat right and recover, writes Ross.
Eating Carrots Helps Your Vision
As children, you were likely told to eat carrots to avoid wearing glasses. Unless you have a Vitamin A deficiency, eating carrots are not going to affect how well you see. However, some research suggests a healthy diet containing carrots may reduce the progression of macular degeneration which is the leading cause of blindness in adults over 60. So, if you’ve been eating carrots hoping to hang on to 20/20 vision, consider them simply a healthy addition to your diet, but no need to overeat.
Muscle Weighs More Than Fat
This myth seems to have incredible staying power. There is no truth to this statement. Think about it, if you have a pound of muscle, and a pound of fat, they both weigh a pound, right? Although a pound is a pound when it comes to muscle and fat, their function is very different. Muscle burns more calories due to their metabolic properties. This basically means muscles utilize more calories than fat. Muscle is active tissue. The more you have the greater your calorie burning efficiency. More fat, less calorie burning efficiency. Perhaps the confusion surrounding muscle weighing more than fat is because muscle takes up less space due to its density making you look leaner even if the scale doesn’t change all that much.
Regular strength training improves muscle mass which is critical in improving bone density and preventing loss of muscle mass which is common with aging.
Fat Burning Zone
This myth is simply the result of wishful thinking. Although we’ve all heard that slower, longer exercise is better for burning fat, the reality is that overall, you’ll burn less fuel. If you want to get rid of excess fat and make your exercise sessions more efficient, start with interval training. When you alternate segments of higher and lower exertion, which is interval training, you’re able to work harder. Harder work = more calories burned. For example, if you’re a runner, begin with an easy run for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, kick your speed up and run as fast as you can for 30-45 seconds and then resume your easy pace. Repeating this over a 45 minute period challenges your body and uses stored fuel (basically fat and carbohydrates) more efficiently. And as a bonus, interval training greatly enhances your cardiovascular system.
In the world of health and wellness, myths will likely never go away. Therefore, it’s important to read reliable sources, study the facts, evaluate the science behind the claims, and see how credible they are. But most importantly, use your common sense. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Author Nicki is the health and fitness columnist for Chicago Suburban Newspapers, Tribune Company/Naperville Magazine and contributor to numerous magazines and websites including, MSNBC.com, Forbes.com and FitnessMagazine.com, Real Simple, Prevention, Women’s Health and Women’s’ Running, Men’s Health and Fitness and also forAnatomy Now.