Weight-loss tips, fad diets and more — these days, they’re everywhere you look. And most of it is false information. In fact, the average American wrongly assumes a daily workout must be 95 minutes or more to be impactful, according to a new study conducted by Planet Fitness.
Americans express growing frustration with fad fitness, social media “fitspiration” and the many myths believed to be true about health and wellness. Here are some commonly-held misconceptions about fitness and the real truth behind them:
1) Myth: You have to put in a lot of time to get results
On average, Americans believe they need to work out for 95 minutes for it to even be beneficial. And those who don’t currently belong to a gym think a single, solid workout requires two full hours of exercise to be effective. However, recent guidelines from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services note that just 10 minutes of exercise will help raise your heart rate and maintain fitness levels.
2) Myth: Working out is like a five-day work week
Nearly half of Americans believe you need to work out more than five times a week in order for it to be effective — and that’s just not true. Every single episode of physical activity can provide temporary improvements in cognitive function and levels of anxiety. “You don’t have to work out seven days a week, two hours a day, to get healthy,” says Chris Rondeau, chief executive officer of Planet Fitness. “The truth is that fitness can be fun, affordable, non-intimidating and not all consuming. The key is to just get started and know that every minute truly matters, and over time, can have a significant positive impact.”
3) Myth: Fitness needs to be a competition
Studies show that head-to-head challenges are demotivating to the majority of Americans who don’t currently belong to a gym. In fact, 68 percent find leaderboards specifically demotivating. When it comes to individual health, all activity counts, not just your position on a scoreboard. Find physical activity that is motivating and fun for you.
4) Myth: Social media helps spread the message of health and wellness
Quite the opposite. Common “fitspo” phrases such as, “no pain, no gain” or “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” are ineffective, according to most Americans. On the flip side, 65 percent say that inspirational messaging like “investing in yourself” and “a year from now, you’ll be glad you started today,” is motivating.
“People can work out on their own terms and live healthy, happy lives, versus perpetuating certain myths that you should be ‘living to work out’,” says Rondeau. “It’s this mentality that has kept the majority of Americans from believing that they, too, can take that first step toward better health.”