Engaging in daily or weekly aerobic exercise activities is one of the best things that we can do for our minds and bodies. Time and time again, scientific studies have shown that cardiovascular-based activity helps combat depression and obesity, and helps boost general productivity, self-confidence, daily energy, and well-being.
Those are some of the reasons why we promote and encourage exercise for people of all ages and skill levels here at CSS Fitness. Our Scottsdale fitness center knows that, while running, biking or rowing is painful and difficult, it comes with countless benefits that make the sweat you put into the experience absolutely worth it. Make no mistake, thoughtfully-executed aerobic exercise has and will continue to change people’s lives across the planet.
As great as aerobic exercise is, however, you might be surprised at some of the myths floating around the internet (and even at local fitness centers) about cardio exercise. We’re sure that you know better than to believe that running one time will give you magical, superhuman powers, but there is some carefully constructed misinformation out there that’s worth debunking. The last thing that our body management specialists at CSS Fitness want is for someone to follow a cardio tip they read on the internet, only to injure themselves as a result. To protect yourself from exercising incorrectly in the future, check out some of these debunked myths about aerobic exercise.
Myth: If You Spend Less Than An Hour Doing Cardio, It’s Not Worth It
This is absolutely untrue. Spending over an hour doing cardio is great, but not at all necessary to burn calories and improve your cardiovascular health. In fact, any body movements whatsoever have benefits in terms of calorie burn.
HIIT training, or high-intensity interval training, maximizes the time you spend doing cardio by focusing on high-energy, rapid bursts of cardiovascular activity that elevate your heart rate. We’re not saying that you need to sprint to get the most out of your cardio workout, but The American Heart Association says that doing three 20-minute sessions of cardio at a vigorous intensity, such as running, has been proven to be the rough equivalent of doing five 30-minute sessions at a moderate level, such as walking.
Even a simple 10 minutes of exercise at a high-intensity has been proven to be beneficial. In all honesty, even if it doesn’t sound like much, a simple evening walk around the block is significantly better than staying glued to your couch all night.
Myth: Doing Cardio On An Empty Stomach Burns More Fat
It might make sense at first, but if you can’t drive your car without gas, then what do you expect from your body? The same principle applies. To workout, you need your large muscles to power you through your cardio exercise, and these muscles rely heavily on a combination of carbs and fats for sustained energy. So when you run, bike, or do anything related to cardio on an empty stomach, your body will actually use the carb and fat fragments in your bloodstream and muscle deposits as its energy source, instead of the fat in your fat cells, which is where your energy should be drawn from.
Seriously, it’s important to be careful with this one because you could become hypoglycemic and dehydrated. Running or biking for too long in this state could then cause you to faint during your workout, or the at very best, force you to end your workout before you hit your desired mileage or calorie burn. Always eat something light and easily digestible about 90-120 minutes before you plan on exercising, as it will provide your body with the energy that it needs to push on.
Myth: Holding Weights While You Walk Is Beneficial
In theory, it seems like a good idea to hold a little extra weight as you walk to help increase and optimize your calorie burn and even strengthen your upper body. While walking with a little extra weight will technically burn extra calories, the light weights that people tend to use while briskly walking usually burn too few extra calories to show any significance. Even if you do heavier weights while you walk, the added weight might alter your natural arm swing and increase the risk of injuries.
If you want to carry extra weight on you as you walk, walking with poles might be a safer and more effective option. Also known as Nordic walking or ‘exerstriding,’ this exercise technique actually originated in Finland as a sort of off-season training method for cross-country skiers. Research has shown that pole walking strengthens the upper body and abdominal muscles while allowing you to walk faster AND burn more calories than regular walking – a pretty sweet deal if you ask us. As a bonus, pole walking takes a significant amount of pressure off of your knees, hips, and lower back, as opposed to the stress that weights put on your joints.
Myth: Hydrate Constantly, Even If You’re Not Thirsty
We really don’t want a case of overhydration on our hands (yes, it’s not nearly as common as dehydration, but it is a thing). Clever marketing by electrolyte-based sports drink companies have influenced people to believe that we must always be one step ahead of our thirst to avoid dehydration, but there’s a healthy balance of hydrating your body that you should be aware of.
The feeling of thirst is a reliable indicator of when our bodies need more fluids – it’s why we feel thirsty in the first place, and this is the case even during exercise. So drinking water and other fluids only when you’re thirsty results in better performance than chugging fluids constantly. Go into exercise hydrated, and try not to drink too many fluids while you exercise, as this can deplete your body’s sodium levels and cause a number of problems.
Myth: Cardio Will Help You Lose Weight Quickly, Guaranteed
Routinely getting cardiovascular exercise can definitely result in weight loss, but you can also gain weight, too. How? It all comes down to your diet in terms of how many calories you consume on a daily basis, and what kind of foods you eat. If you run three times a week but you’re eating fast food every day, then it’s not likely that you’ll be losing any weight. While physical exercise is an important part of the weight loss equation, your dietary choices play a much bigger role.
Do It Right At CSS Fitness
We could keep going on about these myths, but we’ll leave it at that for now. At our Scottsdale fitness center, you won’t have to worry about injuring yourself or doing something incorrectly, because our dedicated personal training and group training professionals are here to make sure that you’re exercising safely and effectively. Click here to learn more about our specialized fitness programs, or get in touch with us to start your path to a healthier, happier life!