What Have You Heard About Exercise?

”No pain, no gain!” “Don’t lift weights, if not your arms will become bulky!”

You might have heard some of these exercise myths touted as truth by your workout kakis. You might even believe in a few.

While some fitness myths are harmless, others might cause injury or hinder your workouts. So, let’s debunk some not-so-helpful myths.

Myth 1: Longer Workouts Are Better

Must you spend hours in the gym pounding the treadmill to lose weight and reap the benefits of exercise? The answer's no: long workouts aren't necessarily better than short ones.

Short, high-intensity workouts like High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) could be just as effective in helping you burn fats and get fit.

How long should you exercise every day? If you're short on time and unable to commit to regular 60-minute sessions, to meet your recommended minimum 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity weekly, try your best to break up prolonged sedentary time with bouts of 15- to 30-minutes of physical activity throughout the day.

You might even find yourself more motivated — 15 minutes per day is a small, easy commitment.

Beginners can start with 15-minute brisk walks around their estate, while those who fancy a challenge can try different high-intensity interval workouts. You can do these anywhere: at home, in the park or in your office.

Related: Workouts You Can Do In The Office

Myth 2: No Pain, No Gain

You may have heard the phrases “no pain, no gain” and “pain is weakness leaving the body” thrown around by fiery personal trainers on TV.

The shouting makes good entertainment, but there’s no basis for those beliefs. A good workout should not leave you in pain, nor does pain mean you’re having a good workout.

True, discomfort is natural, especially if your workout is intense. And you should expect some muscle soreness if you haven’t worked out in a while.

But when discomfort evolves into pain, you should stop: it could be a sign that you’ve overworked your muscles or injured yourself.

Listen to your body and challenge yourself to break out of your comfort zone to reach your fitness goals, but not to the point of pain and exhaustion.

Myth 3: Women Who Lift Weights Have Bulky Muscles

You might be hesitant to work with weights because of the misconception that lifting will give you big muscles.

While weights wouldn’t make you super buff, they’ll help tone your muscles (you can show off your sexy arms), improve your strength, and keep your bones strong to protect you against age-related muscle loss. Dust off the dumbbells and start strength training at least 2 days a week to train your different muscle groups!

Related: Ladies, Lifting Weights Won't Make You Masculine

Myth 4: The Best Time to Exercise Is in the Morning

Morning workouts give you a dose of endorphins to kick-start your day the kopi-free way. If you’re an early bird, exercising in the morning is probably easier for you. What if you’re not?

The best time to exercise is whenever you can fit a workout consistently into your schedule — a jog shouldn’t require you to upend your routine or cause you extra stress.

Instead of stressing over waking up extra early for an early morning workout, try a 15-minute lunchtime gym session or go swimming after work. Your workout schedule should work for you, not the other way around.

In a myth-busting mood? Learn more about common exercise myths in Myths about Weight Loss.

Do consult your doctor before starting any exercise regime, and practise caution when exercising. Remember, safety first!

Download the HealthHub app on Google Play or Apple Store to access more health and wellness advice at your fingertips.

Read these next:

  1. Handelsman, D. J., Hirschberg, A. L., & Bermon, S. (2018). Circulating Testosterone as the Hormonal Basis of Sex Differences in Athletic Performance. Endocrine Reviews, 39(5), 803–829. Retrieved June 2021 from https://doi.org/10.1210/er.2018-00020 )