Get fit. Stay fit. Easy goals to set, but they’re hard to achieve.
At least part of the reason for that is that the social sciences on fitness and dieting has changed over period. People who read about fitness in the ‘7 0s heard different information than the individuals who read about fitness in the ‘9 0s. And the scientific consensus in the ‘9 0s was based on less complete information than researchers have today.
But those old ideas stick around, and sometimes bad new ideas merely supported by one or two surveys get repeated in the media as fact.
Here’s the truth about some widely-believedmyths abouthow to be healthy.
If you brought a space alien to the average American supermarket and let them wander around, they’d probably say to you “fat” was a kind of human poison, on par with arsenic and mercury. And it makes a kind of intuitive sense to say that fat makes you fat. But that’s not how our bodies run.
As with any nutrient, it’s possible to overeat fat. But fats, especially the healthy kind that come from olive oil, avocados, and nuts, are an essential part of our diet.And when you don’t eat them, you’re not just depriving yourself of something your body wants, you’re stimulate it harder for you to feel full and increasing the opportunity you might overeat.
Myth: Fat-free food is healthy food .
In the effort to strike fat from the American diet, a massive industry of fat-free foods rose up especially in the dairy section. The implication of slapping “fat-free” on a product is that it’s healthy. But the thing is, you can call plenty of unhealthy foods fat-free. Think about soda, candy, and beer.
And regrettably, many fat-free products are in fact packed with a much more dangerous substance: sugar. “Healthy” yogurts are especially bad in this department. In fact, people who eat low-fat dairy foods are more likely to be overweight .
“No ache , no gain” is a popular idea in the workout world, forming the foundation of several popular programs. But in reality, working out long after your body starts telling you it’s getting injury poses a serious injury hazard. Which is not to say you shouldn’t push yourself.
Some soreness after workout is a sign ofnatural strengthening process in your muscles( that don’t, incidentally, have anything to do with lactic acid .) And whilethe potential benefits of high-intensity exercise are huge, pain-free moderate exercise is powerful as well.
Listen, remaining hydrated is important. And sometimes when you can’t sleep or start feelingirritable or fatigued, the problem is really dehydration. So for people who struggle to remember to drink water, defining a objective might not be the craziest thing in the world.
But, as Randall Monroe exemplifies so well in the above XKCD, there’s no science( or sense) behind the magical eight glasses number. In general, pay attention to your body and the weather. Drink as much water as you need to feel hydrated. And you’ll likely be fine.
Ilya Naymushin/ Reuters
There’s an idea out there in the culture that if you don’t get fit young, “youve never” will get fit. That turns out to be nonsense. Our best research on this topic shows that people who started exerting late in life even after their 70 th birthdays saw increases in fitness and lived longer than their friends who remained sedentary.
Eloy Alonso/ Reuters
A few analyses have suggested very minor cardiovascular benefits to certain substances in red wine, when eaten in very small quantities. But even the researchers behind that work guess we all need to cool it with the liquor. And there’s good evidence that there was no truth at all to this idea in the first place.