You know exercise is an important partner to eating well when you are working toward a weight loss goal. But did you know you don’t have to spend hours at the gym or even break a sweat to get the benefits of exercise? These surprising truths clear up popular misconceptions about fitness and help keep your metabolism burning.
MYTH: If it’s not an hour-long workout, it’s worthless.
FACT: Just 20 minutes of exercises done fast is as beneficial as an hour of moderate-paced working out, according to a study by researchers at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada.
YOUR MOVE: Do a few quick reps of calisthenics to burn calories when you have time for just a brief break.
MYTH: Exercise must be sustained to be effective.
FACT: Walking three times for 10 minutes had more of an impact than one 30-minute stroll, report researchers from Arizona State University.
YOUR MOVE: Take a 10-minute walk around the mall before you do your shopping, go from your desk to the parking lot and back after you eat lunch, or take the dog out for a stroll up and down the street.
MYTH: Only crunches, sit-ups or other ab exercises get rid of belly fat.
FACT: Women who walked for about an hour a day for 14 weeks shrunk their belly fat by 20 percent, in another study from McMaster University.
YOUR MOVE: To further tone your abs as you walk, try to lift the crown of your head and lengthen your spine, which will activate your core muscles and help them get firmer.
MYTH: If you’re not sweating, you’re not working out hard enough.
FACT: Sweating is your body’s mechanism for cooling itself, so it’s only an indicator of how hot your body is, according to the National Academy of Sports Medicine. Each of us reacts to exertion differently and in humid conditions you sweat more than when the air is drier.
YOUR MOVE: Any activity that makes conversation an effort is demanding enough to increase the amount of calories you are burning.
MYTH: Exercise alone is enough to achieve your weight loss goal.
FACT: A recent study, published in the journal Obesity, found that after a year of aerobic exercise, overweight women lost a little more than 2 percent of their body weight. But women who combined exercise with a healthier diet lost 11 percent of their weight in the same time frame.
YOUR MOVE: Eat a well-balanced diet of nutrient-dense foods and every moment you exercise pays off in faster progress to your weight loss goal.