Exercise your right to a fit body

WHILE MOST sporting activities help to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels, some, in particular golf and walking, are not vigorous enough to stave off a heart attack, according to a 2007 study at Queen’s University Belfast and Glasgow University.

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Published: Sat 31 May 2008, 12:23 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 3:40 PM

More strenuous activities such as jogging, swimming and tennis are better at fighting heart disease.

The study found that those who did vigorous exercise suffered fewer heart attacks than those who did only light exercise. Even if you already exercise frequently, your body will profit still further if you increase your levels of activity.

In short, the more active you are, the more benefits you will get. Here are some myths and facts about exercise: MYTH: Exercising at a low, rather than high, intensity promotes greater fat loss.

FACT: It is true that the body uses a greater proportion of fats than carbohydrates when exercising at low intensity. But this doesn’t mean that such exercise is better for fat loss. The most important consideration is the total number of calories you burn — you lose weight and body fat when you burn more calories than you consume.

MYTH: The more you sweat, the more fat you lose.

FACT: When you exercise, you do sweat and lose weight. But it’s mainly lost water, not fat.

When you eat or drink next, you’ll replenish your body’s fluid levels and the lost pounds will return. Sweating is not a good indicator of how many calories you are burning — it simply tells you how much excess heat you’re producing.

MYTH: You can burn fat from specific body parts by exercising those areas.

FACT: You cannot ‘spot-reduce’ fat. When you exercise, you use energy by burning fat from all over the body, not just from the specific muscles involved in the exercise.

MYTH: Strength training makes women bulk up.

FACT: Not true. Lifting weights is one of the quickest and easiest ways for women to look leaner and more toned. It is hard for women to build big muscles as they have lower levels of testosterone — the hormone that influences muscle growth.

MYTH: Muscle turns to fat when you stop exercising.

FACT: It is impossible for muscle to turn to fat — it is a totally different type of body tissue. If you don’t use a muscle it will lose strength, tone and size. And if you eat more calories than you burn the excess will be stored as fat.

MYTH: Aerobic exercise stops the loss of lean muscle mass during dieting.

FACT: Aerobic exercise does little to maintain lean muscle mass during dieting. The less lean mass you have, the lower will be your metabolic rate. The best way to prevent muscle loss is by combining strength exercises (at least twice a week) with regular aerobic activities.

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