Print

News >> Browse Articles >> Work-Life Balance

+1

Become a Healthy Entrepreneur

Become a Healthy Entrepreneur

Entrepreneur

Myth #8: No pain, no gain
Reality Check: While exercising may cause soreness, pain doesn’t have to be part of your fitness routine.

With exercise, especially if you’re new to it, there is some normal level of discomfort. After all, you’re jolting your body from its resting state, making it jump into action, and causing changes all the way down to the cellular level. That’s how your body gets stronger.

But just how intense and uncomfortable does exercise have to be? Activities that are intense or long in duration—such as running for a distance—can give health benefits beyond less-strenuous exercise. But the pace of a brisk walk is sufficient to boost the heart rate to a level benefiting overall health, according to researcher Kyle McInnis at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. When he asked obese men and women to maintain a “brisk but comfortable” pace while walking, the subjects all reached recommended exercise intensity levels.

“You really can get your heart rate up to the level that your doctor would recommend, and you don’t have to jog or run to do it,” McInnis said in 2003. “A large segment of the population still believes exercise must be vigorous, demanding, or involve more complicated activities than walking to adequately raise their heart rate. This perception of ‘no pain, no gain’ can discourage people from starting to exercise at all.”

That’s not to say that you won’t feel some soreness after a workout. But be aware of pain caused by injury. “Good” soreness tends to be symmetrical—you’ll feel it in both legs, say, from doing the squat exercise. “Bad” pain is typically on one side-your left knee, for example, after doing those squats. Also, there’s a difference between joint pain (not good) and muscle pain (usually OK). Joint pain tends to be very specific, and you’ll know the exact spot that hurts-which usually is on or near the joint. Muscular pain is more diffuse.

Myth #9: It’s inevitable that I’ll gain weight as I age, so it’s not worth fighting it
Reality Check: Exercise can counteract the natural tendency to gain weight with age

It’s true we tend to put on pounds the older we get-at least in our middle years. Researchers at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine followed more than 5,000 Americans for 20 years starting in 1971, and found that people put on weight until middle age, stabilized, and then started to lose weight around the age of 60. The causes may include hormonal changes (for example, women undergo shifting levels of estrogen) and a genetic predisposition.

So if it can’t be helped, why worry about it? Because other causes of age-related weight gain are under your control—one of the most important being strength training. From our mid-20s to our mid-50s, every year on average we lose one-half pound of muscle and add a pound of fat. Not good, when you consider that muscle tissue burns more calories than fat, and so our metabolism slows down by 5 percent every year.

But through resistance training, you can counteract that muscle atrophy and actually put on muscle. Add in other lifestyle changes—like aerobic exercise and eating wisely—and you’ll defeat the middle-age spread.

Myth #10: I have to join a gym or buy expensive equipment to get in shape
Reality Check: You can exercise just about anywhere, anytime, and with minimal equipment

Late-night infomercials want you to believe that fitness can be found in a contraption you can buy with three easy payments of $19.99. But exercise doesn’t require complicated machines-you even can do some challenging exercises using just your body weight. Take Stephen Gatlin, founder and CEO of Gatlin Education Services. He’s a regular runner, but he also adds push-ups to his fitness routine on a regular basis-“50 good, solid push-ups in a row,” he says. “It doesn’t do a whole lot of good to cheat yourself.”

True, joining a gym can give you access to a personal trainer and plenty of weights and machines, and being around other people exercising can be a good source of motivation. But working out at a health club isn’t necessary to lead a healthy lifestyle. Stash a pair of dumbbells and a medicine ball under your office desk or in the garage, and you have a miniworkout facility at work or home.

Now that these health and fitness fictions have been uncovered, it’s time to get started on the path to exercise and good nutrition. And the best place to begin is with a quick assessment of your current level of fitness.

This article was excerpted from The Entrepreneur Diet. Buy it today from EntrepreneurPress.com.

© 2009, YellowBrix, Inc.