Balance, Behavioral Medicine, Cognitive Reframing, Cognitive Restructuring, Education, Exercise, Fitness, Health & Wellness, Human Performance, Mind-Body, Mind/Body Disconnect, Physical Fitness, Positive Attitude, Self-care, Stress Management

The Facts About Exercise: Don’t Make These “Myth”-stakes – Part 2 of 3

Part two of this three-part series addresses several more exercise-related myths which may appear to be sound advice, and then shares with you the behind-the-scenes facts. It is surprising how much misinformation exists on any number of topics including exercise. Many people are willing to share “wisdom” from their personal experiences, and while this may seem helpful to the less experienced, it is wise to check the facts for yourself. And always remember: when starting an exercise program, it is wise to check with your personal health care professional.

MYTH 6: Salt tablets are an important part of a fitness regimen, particularly during the summer months.
FACT: People exercising need water, not salt. Ingesting extra salt can have a significant negative effect on health and fitness. You will consume the required amount of salt if you simply eat a normal, balanced diet.

MYTH 7: Women should avoid exercise during menstrual periods.
FACT: Many women discover they have fewer menstrual cramps if they continue regular physical exercise during their periods. Women can and should exercise whenever they want to.

MYTH 8: Women who lift weights will develop large, bulky muscles.
FACT: Women who exercise do not develop large, bulky muscles as men do. Many women report that weight lifting routines have helped develop their muscles in a way that enhances their body’s shape. Large, bulky muscles are a function of the presence of male hormones. Women do not have enough of the male hormones which are necessary for the bulking process to take place. Women may have large muscular legs simply because they inherited that trait, but not because they develop them through a particular exercise regime.

Exercise Myths

MYTH 9: It is dangerous for pregnant women to exercise.
FACT: Sensible exercises with the approval of an obstetrician actually are an advantage for the pregnant woman because they will strengthen her lower back, buttocks, and abdominal muscles which must perform under stress during birth.

MYTH 9: It is dangerous for pregnant women to exercise.
FACT: Sensible exercises with the approval of an obstetrician actually are an advantage for the pregnant woman because they will strengthen her lower back, buttocks, and abdominal muscles which must perform under stress during birth. Many women report that the back aches which normally follow childbirth are lessened and/or eliminated completely because of their pre-birthing exercise program.

MYTH 10: Sit ups and side bends are excellent exercises to spot reduce the extra weight around your waist.
FACT: Specific exercises will not reduce your percentage of body fat, but they will tone muscles. Spot reduction is virtually impossible. Fat is burned for energy and is withdrawn from the entire body’s fat cell stores, not simply from the area being exercised. Reducing weight is a surprisingly simple process?use more calories through activity than you consume from food. There is a genetic predisposition as to how individuals distribute fat in certain areas of their body. The tendency is to lose weight last from the place it was first gained. For men that generally means the stomach and waist?for women it is generally found in the upper thighs, buttocks, and arms.

Check out Parts One and Three of this series.

Remember to be good to you!

Copyright © 2013 by Gary L. Flegal, Ph.D.

Dr. Gary Flegal is a Behavioral Medicine and Health Specialist with a doctorate in “Health Education and Human Performance” from Michigan State University. He is an exciting and accomplished presenter and keynote speaker, presenting seminars for groups and companies on location and at conventions. His advanced training in stress management came to him while working in affiliation with the original Mind/Body Medical Institute at Harvard under the direction of Herbert Benson, M.D. and his staff. In addition to corporate presentations, Dr. Flegal keeps a busy schedule working with individual clients for a variety of stress-related issues, including anger management, quitting smoking, learning to relax and manage stress, and learning self-hypnosis.

Dr. Flegal’s other passion is magic. He has been a professional magician for over 30 years and continues practicing his art at every opportunity. These two passions work together beautifully as he illustrates stress management concepts with fun, visual, and “magical” demonstrations in his stress management workshops and seminars. It also allows him to share stress management with his magic audiences wherever he goes because “Laughter is the Best Medicine!” Gary is a Reiki Master and a Certified Consulting Hypnotist, certified by the National Guild of Hypnotists.

Dr. Flegal’s specialties include stress management, anger management, positive behavior change, insomnia, smoking cessation, and exercise physiology. For individual appointments, speaking engagements, or more information, contact Gary at Professional Stress Management Services in Nashville, Tennessee, at (615)812-7280 or through his Web site:

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Posts by Dr. Gary Flegal

March 2013


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Stress can cause severe health problems if not managed properly. In extreme cases stress can lead to physical symptoms which can even cause death. While stress management techniques have been shown to have a positive effect on reducing stress, the information on this website is for guidance only. Readers should seek the advice of suitably qualified health professionals if they have any concerns over stress-related illnesses or if stress is causing significant or persistent unhappiness. Health professionals should also be consulted before any major change in diet or levels of exercise.
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