Fitness Myth Busting, Some Of The Busts Are BS!
Myth bust 1. In the first question/myth “bust” concerning sweat and calories. This is true, environmental factors do cause effects; the dew point temperature, ambient air temperature, altitude and the amount of sunlight, will change how much you sweat as these variables change. Additional variables would include; pathogens (what type of infection, disease or microbes, where the human unit sample is in the course of the disease, including fevers); hydration (amount, timing); food (type/composition, amount, timing); clothing (color, porosity, conductive properties, hydrophilic capacity); sleep (amount and quality); and stress.
Now for the BS of this “bust!” If all of the above variables are controlled for (as well as others that I may not have thought of), and they can be, there will be an absolute causation of increased sweat by exercising harder. Do not be fooled. If you don’t have a good sense for how hard you are working out, write it down!
Myth bust 2. Running and knee damage — There is running and there is knee damage, but are they linked? I happen to believe that they are, with a caveat; what type of foot strike do you have? Heel, mid foot, or forefoot? There appears to be anecdotal evidence, which indicates empirical evidence and that can be statistically be quantified to show causation of knee damage, caused by “running.” But not all running is the same. When you walk you heel strike, that is your heel strikes the ground, cushioned by any socks or shoes or the nature of the surface being struck, air pockets in asphalt help cushion the strike, when compared to sidewalk cement, and turf and pine needles both compress and have air pockets. While I do not have data, if 100% of the energy is absorbed in 0.05 seconds with cushioning and in 0.005 seconds with no cushioning, the average for the duration of the strike would be ten times as much. So if 100 lbs. is the amount of load distributed over the 5 hundredths of a second with a cushioned foot, then a thousand lbs. is what is distributed over the uncushioned five thousandths of a second. This modality difference may be enough to cause damage when the much higher loads from a jogging heel strike occur.
Incidentally, I have never heard of sprinters getting knee damage, unless playing a sport where collisions happen. The calf muscles act as shock absorbers, mitigating the very pronounced shock joggers get. Lesson: attempt to run on the balls of your feet.
Myth bust 3. Yoga as calorie burning exercise. Is it? Yes, but not much. This is further reduced if you are limited by the heat of yoga corrupting Bikram. In my experience as an athlete and personal trainer, yoga is incredibly effective for body awareness, range of motion, balance and for cooling down from other much more meaningful calorie burning exercises. My advice is; when you want to burn calories, do your step aerobics, hit a spin class or run using a forefoot strike, then open up your body and mind with yoga.
I also hear how people talk of “getting strong” by doing yoga. If you are currently doing nothing, any purposeful movements will make you stronger. However if you are truly serious about getting stronger, don’t be a dumb bell, get to the barbells, kettle bells and dumb bells and ask a personal trainer how to use them, if you don’t already know how. Then do your yoga.
Note: It is highly unlikely that the originators of Yoga did it with cold core temperatures and lack of blood flow to and from muscles. Only here in the West, do people do Yoga without warming up through some physical modality; exercise, wood gathering, food harvesting or water procurement.
Myth bust 4. Stretching before exercise. They say, “do not do it.” I agree, and am even more adamant about discontinuing this damage to your body. I still see “knowledgeable” people who ski, extending their skis on end and getting in a last second hamstring stretch before getting on the lifts for their first runs. This is incredibly foolish, especially for this sport. This also why doing some form of meaningful exercise before cranking yourself into different yoga positions is important. Studies on this specific type of stretching done before exercise, indicate up to a 30% loss in muscular strength (probably through thousands of body aging micro-tears). This is nuts! Why would you do this? Stop now! I forbid you from continuing to use this archaic method or ignoring science!
Myth bust 5. 45 minutes and sweating to get cardiovascular benefits. They say no, you can get cardiovascular benefits with as little as ten minutes in a session. How do you use those ten minutes? Totally blow off the warm up? So, I say sort of. It depends on who you are and what you are doing. Theoretical possibilities don’t always pan out into statistical probabilities. Again, if the most difficult and demanding thing you do is get in and out of bed, I see the point, but no one who is 35+ in age and moderately active is going to get cardiovascular benefits. In fact, trying to do Tabata training, or any other high intensity interval training without a warm up, for those over age 35 will be shown to cause a higher rate of heart attacks, since blood vessels have not vasodilated. I consider this to be the most dangerous “myth bust.” I would never let anyone I cared about or could sue me do this. Any enemies out there?? Just a thought!!!! Bottom line; get your warm up in, however long it takes and then really go for it. That will take more than ten minutes!
Myth bust 6. Sleep deprivation will lead to weight gain, because of ghrelin. Yes, unfortunately for those of you who are in delusional belief and consider yourself immune from the needs of restorative sleep, are much more likely to chunk up. Lack of sleep is stressful, to alleviate that stress, many attempt to eat away the problems. Your hormones (yes you men, even those with man boobs have hormones, ok tough guy) will get out of balance, and like a row of dominoes, lead to weight gains in most cases, in addition to compromising decision making, the damage to information processing, and dangerously reduced ability to drive.
Myth bust 7. Some “experts” claim; Exercising in the cold does not burn as more calories than exercising in the heat. This is laughable at best. Truly idiotic. If you are doing exactly the same thing standing in the heat or cold, first of all is there a difference? If so what? Well it might come as a surprise that your body burns more energy (thermogenesis) simply staying warm. That is a difference. Now as you begin to exercise, things even out on a percentage basis, where the thermogenesis remains constant as the total caloric expenditure increases in both the heat and cold. As exercise intensity reaches VO2 max, the person in the cold can keep going, because they are not as likely to have to deal with heat stroke. The person in the heat, try Phoenix in 115 degree heat, will slow down their effort because of heat exhaustion or be stopped by heat stroke, or death. So you Bikram people, the bottom line here is; you are surviving not truly exercising. Just because the ambient conditions cause you to sweat, even when you are merely breathing poolside, doesn’t mean you are exercising. I can burn four to six times as many calories on a per pound basis, per hour as those doing Bikram Yoga. Certainly, almost anyone who is moderately fit can burn 2 to three times as much as those doing Bikram Yoga. Bikram Yoga as one of my Yoga friends recently declared, “is a gimmick.”