3 health and fitness myths debunked

ARMING ourselves with the proper knowledge is a crucial component of living out a life of fitness. On the opposite end of the spectrum, embracing erroneous information may hinder us from reaching our fitness goals.

In the digital age, much as it is easy to access proper resources on matters of health and fitness, it cuts both ways—sadly, tons of misinformation is spread with one click.

Whether passed on to us by a friend of a friend, a relative, or maybe it’s something we’ve seen on Facebook, health and fitness myths have a way of perpetuating themselves and taking the form of truth, when in fact, they are anything but that. Here are three of them.

• Myth: Doing crunches and/or sit-ups will give you a six pack.

• Truth:You may perform hundreds of these exercises a day but they will not give you a six pack. Sure, ab exercises may help strengthen and firm up our core, but to melt away belly fat, it is important for us to understand that we have to combine an exercise and nutrition program that will result in a calorie deficit. This means that our caloric expenditure is more than the calories that we consume. Done systematically over time, that is the sensible way to burn fat and have abs.  All of us have abdominal muscles. It’s just a matter of making them visible. The layer of fat that hide our abs from plain sight cannot, and will not be melted away by only doing crunches and sit-ups every day.

• Myth: Carbohydrates make you fat.

• Truth: Eating excessively—whether it be fat, carbohydrates or protein—will make us gain weight. Simple carbohydrates, such as rice, bread and pasta have often been pointed to as the bad guys responsible for making people fat. But taken in properly moderate amounts, carbohydrates are an essential part of a healthy diet.   Carbs do not make us fat.  Consumption of excessive calories, over and above what our body can burn over long periods of time is the real culprit.

• Myth: Bathing in cold water after physical activity is harmful to our muscles.

• Truth There is simply no scientific evidence to support this claim. Yes, perhaps we’ve been told by our elders that taking a bath after a game of basketball or strenuous physical activity will lead to body and muscle pains. This is commonly known in Filipino folklore as pasma or ending up pasmado. This is a uniquely Filipino ailment that is not based on any kind of sound scientific research or theory. Think of all the marathoners and long-distance cyclists the world over who are doused with cold water. Pasma doesn’t seem to be something that concerns them. Go and take a shower after that grueling workout. Cold or hot water, the choice is yours. Worrying about something nonexistent is the worst kind of distraction that we do not need.

The information age is also the misinformation/disinformation age. Let us be more discerning of the ideas and concepts that we embrace. For it is on these things that we ground our actions upon. Being properly informed allows us to take the proper course of action towards achieving any goal. Fitness myths simply derail us. Let us bury them one by one.

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