The 12 Biggest Exercise Myths, Debunked by Science and Health Experts

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Between Instagram influencers, fitness bloggers, and self-proclaimed “gurus,” there’s a veritable treasure trove of information out there about exercise. But unfortunately, not all of it is accurate. Did you know, for example, that all of that stretching you’re doing to prevent injuries is for naught?

Or that you should be ending your workout with cardio, not starting with it? And you probably believed that muscle weighs more than fat, right? Yes, the chances are high that you’re going about exercise all wrong—and these examples are just the tip of the iceberg! Read on to find out whether or not the so-called “truths” you’ve longed believed about exercise are actually backed by scientific studies and doctors. After that, you can start working out smarter—and more effectively—today!

1  Myth: Stretching prevents injuries.

stretching exercise myths

Fact: The thinking goes that loosening your muscles up pre-workout will make you nice and limber, thus minimizing the chance of any muscle tears or pulls, but a 2007 study published in the journal Research in Sports Medicine debunked that notion. The researchers from the University of Hull in England “concluded that static stretching was ineffective in reducing the incidence of exercise-related injury.”

Instead, to truly stay safe, you’ll want to do a warm-up exercise to increase blood flow to your muscles, which prepares them for the impending workout. In a 2018 study published in the Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation, researchers noted that warm-ups “are performed for 5 to 15 minutes before engaging in the main exercise” in order to “lower the risk of injuries in the muscles and tendons.”

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