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Debunking Exercise Myths

Family sports activity  

If you feel like you’re swimming in a sea of trendy exercise programs, join the (health) club. What began as simple aerobics classes years ago has evolved into pilates, stepping, spinning and a host of other programs that seem to offer something for everyone.

But what do you really need to do, exercise-wise, to stay healthy at any age?

Myth #1: The Perfect Exercise Program
Most exercise pros agree that the wider variety of programs and classes available now is a good thing—as long as you’re realistic about what to expect.

“Don’t expect to see results without putting any effort; there is no magic formula,” says Dr. Jay Kurth, a family medicine physician at Banner Health Clinic on Harmony Road in Fort Collins.

“Any one class or program that claims to do it all should be looked at with some skepticism,” agrees exercise physiologist Richard Cotton, a spokesperson for the American Council on Exercise. “But generally speaking, [most popular exercise programs] have some merit for many people.”

Myth #2: One Size Fits All
It goes without saying that you should always check with your healthcare provider before beginning an exercise program, because not everyone can--or should--do every form of exercise.

Dr. Kurth says he steers novice and older exercisers away from high-impact aerobics such as jogging, step aerobics, and spinning, which can be too intense.

Adds ACE’s Cotton: “Sometimes someone will try a class that they’re really not ready for. The most common mistake is doing too much, too soon.”

Myth #3: Magical Machines
The experts are unanimous: Neither man nor machine can get rid of fat in only certain targeted areas. “Any device that says if you do ab work you will get a thinner waistline, or that you will lose inches [off your waistline], is a sham,” says Cotton.

And if you’re thinking that at least it would be easier to exercise via machine, think again.

The treadmill or elliptical trainer, for example, are excellent machines, says Dr. Kurth, but they won’t burn any more calories than a brisk walk or a slow jog would for the same amount of effort.

“The results show over time: you just have to keep up with your exercise regimen, whatever you choose to do,” Dr. Kurth says.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Kurth, call (970) 204-9069, or find other Banner Health physicians.

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