Experts recommend exercising 20-30 minutes a day to increase muscle strength and improve the cardiovascular system.
But what about people in their 80s and 90s who have never exercised a day in their lives?
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So how do we separate the truth from myths about exercising? When is exercise too much or too little? Is there a benefit to exercising every day like socialite Lori Harvey above?
Fitness experts say there are a lot of myths about exercising, and doctors tend to take a one-size-fits all approach to exercising.
The following are common myths and misinformation about exercising.
1. Do you have to work up a sweat for exercise to count?
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No, not necessarily. The main purpose of sweat is to cool your body down when the sweat evaporates off your skin. Always drink water like Miley Cyrus (above). Some people don't sweat during cardio exercise. If you're moving your body, you're exercising whether you sweat or not.
2. Does lifting weights make women bulk up?
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No. Women don't have as much testosterone as men, like Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson here. Women can lift weights equal to men, but we don't bulk up unless we take testosterone supplements or steroids. The exception is some women who genetically have more testosterone in their system than normal women.
3. Will abdominal crunches make you lose belly fat?
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No. Crunches will strengthen your belly muscles, but they are hidden under a layer of belly fat, like Rebel Wilson above. Men have more testosterone which gives their muscles definition and they burn more fat, like Harry Jowsey below.
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4. Will you burn more fat if you exercise longer?
No. Vigorously exercising for more than an hour may cause physical exhaustion unless you are a physically fit athlete with a personal trainer, like Nicole Scherzinger above. High-intensity exercise for shorter periods of time is the best way to burn calories. If you plan high-intensity exercise you should first consult with your doctor to make sure your heart is healthy. Don't forget, your heart is a muscle that naturally weakens with age (over 50).
5. Is strength training the same as cardiovascular exercise?
No. Cardiovascular exercise gets your heart pumping which helps to strengthen your heart muscle. Cardiovascular (aerobic) exercise increases oxygen transportation which is good for your health. Strength training (anaerobic) focuses on adding bulk to specific muscle groups. Women can't add muscle bulk since we don't have enough testosterone. Strength training is not what the female body is designed for.
6. Is sex a good form of cardio exercise?
Yes. Sex is a form of cardio exercise. Sex works some muscle groups and increases oxygen transportation to muscles and the cardiovascular system. But, too much sex is not good for your heart, particularly if you're over 50. Experts suggest avoiding certain exercises if you are over 50. Always consult with your doctor if you plan a workout routine that consists of high-intensity exercise.
7. Is "no pain, no gain" true or false?
False. Pain is a sign that something is wrong inside your body. You should never push your body until you feel pain. If you feel pain, stop exercising! Pain is a sign that the skeletal muscle is injured. Pain is also a sign of rhabdomyolysis and compartment syndrome.
This has been your Medical Minute.
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