Halloween is around the corner, so seeing folks in disguise is to be expected. When it comes to exercise advice, stay aware all year long, because misconceptions about exercise are often presented as expert advice in the well-meaning popular media.
This video is a reminder that even when exercise advice is from a well-regarded professional with lots of enthusiasm, it can still be full of myths and misconceptions.
Here is where the advice given in that video needs an exercise science ‘fact check’:
- From the image in the thumbnail of the woman lifting weights with an excruciating expression on her face, to the headline “extreme exercise”, to the benefits he lists about HIIT training, this video is promoting a high intensity training. The misconception is that it is better for health because it will burn more calories and raise metabolic rate “than low intensity” training. (notice it was not compared to moderate intensity). The most important fine print here is that when your brain experiences pain or discomfort it sets up a habit loop to AVOID exercise. You, as the savvy fitness consumer need to ask yourself, is the drain on your motivation worth burning just a few more calories?
- The heart rate equation he offers is a prediction equation to estimate where you might want to keep your heart rate during cardiovascular exercise. It is meant to be a guide. Heart rate is not the best guide when it comes to cardio for most people (yes, honestly!) This equation that is used often in fitness centers, has a 15 beat error to it. This is not a great error rate for a number you are using to guide your body. With all the things that effect your heart rate, from medications to caffeine to stress, you are MUCH better off using your breathing level to self check during cardio.
- Sweat is your body cooling itself off. That is it! Sweating does not mean you are burning more calories or fat or getting a “better workout” in any way, shape or form. There is just no science behind this despite the fact that you hear that advice given often. Please do not use sweat as a goal for exercise and don’t listen to anyone who tells you to either.
Before doing HIIT training, consider the pros and cons very carefully. Many more studies show that moderate intensity cardiovascular exercise, that challenges your breathing at a moderate to comfortable (not uncomfortable) level, for 20-30 minutes three days a week will improve your stamina just fine. As long as you are consistent, your body and your health will benefit. And that is the point. When exercise feels good for your body, your brain will encourage you to keep coming back for more so sticking with it to keep getting those benefits will be MUCH easier!
Keep Moving, Be Well,
PS: I hope you never, ever think you need to look like the woman in that image to get the benefits of exercise. That is NOT exercise for health and well-being.
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These weekly blogs are general guidelines. These guidelines apply to patients who are cleared by a physician for the type of exercise described. Please contact your physician with any concerns or questions. Always report any symptoms associated with exercise, such as pain, irregular heartbeats, and dizziness or fainting, to your physician.