Lifting Weights Will Make You ‘Bulky’ And Other Fitness Myths: Busted

The Wild Women On Top Team

In the fitness industry, we hear myths about exercise all the time. Misinformation is floating around everywhere. Like confetti.

There are ads telling us we need to be skinnier, faster, smaller… lesser. They’re messages designed to make us feel bad about ourselves and our body so we buy their product or service.

Wild Women don’t ascribe to this philosophy.

We’re about celebrating you, as you are, however you come. 

But we’re also about giving you the facts and the information you need, so you can make the best decision for you and your body.

We’re breaking down some of the top fitness myths we hear, regularly. 

If I lift heavy things, I’ll get ‘bulky’

This is a key concern for women. Resistance training and lifting heavy things has a bit of a bad wrap thanks to gym selfies and muscly men. There's a perception that lifting heavy things and doing weight-bearing exercises will make you bulky and thick like Arnold Schwarzenegger. The reality is, if you want those super big muscles, it’s going to take many, many years of weight training, meal preparation and sacrifice to even get close... 

Resistance training is super important and has a range of benefits for your physical health. It helps maintain and increase bone density which helps protect against developing osteoporosis. It also improves joint health and assists in preventing and managing chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.

Lifting heavy things also doesn’t have to look like pumping iron in the gym (unless that’s what you’re into). You can lift heavy things by ‘lifting’ your body such as doing bodyweight exercises including squats, lunges, push-ups, tricep dips and step-ups.

Adding some push-ups to your routine isn’t going to make you ‘bulky’. But it will benefit your physical health.

I’ll lose muscle as I age

This is another one we hear often. There seems to be an understanding that as you age, you lose muscle rapidly. But how accurate is this assumption?

Past research into age-related physical decline was based on sedentary adults (adults who don’t move their bodies). This caused scientists to question whether loss of muscle, strength and power is cause by age or activity. 

Recent research shows that loss of muscle, weight gain, injury and vitality is more about physical activity levels and what you're eating regularly, than age. 

Exercise, particularly weight-bearing and weightlifting activities, are the most effective way to build and maintain muscle mass. 

People who choose life-long physical habits, such as surfing, hiking, paddling, swimming, or yoga, have higher levels of strength, flexibility, agility and muscle mass in old age than the general population. In fact, the muscles of older masters athletes are extremely well preserved

If we don’t exercise and live a sedentary life, we will lose muscle and gain fat at any age.

If I’m not sore or sweaty, I didn’t work hard enough

Have you ever finished a workout and felt like you hadn’t exercised ‘properly’ because you weren’t sore or sweaty enough? Ditch that feeling!

Getting your puff on - increasing your heart rate and feeling the burn up some stairs or a hill - does have benefits for your health. Huffing and puffing a little every week is a great way to improve your cardiovascular fitness. This kind of exercise strengthens your heart and lung muscles and is the best way to prevent heart disease.

But.

You don’t need to sweat or feel sore after exercising every single time to experience the immense benefits of exercise. 

Gentle walks in nature have been found to boost mood, improve cognition, reduce stress, and decrease risk of chronic diseases, such as diabetes and some cancers.

Research also suggests moderate exercise, such as walking 3-5 times a week for approximately 45 minutes, can benefit your immune system and is more affective than high intensity activity.

So, not only is walking great at warding off chronic disease, reducing blood pressure, boosting mood and reducing stress - it can also benefit your immune system! 

I have to exercise every single day

Many people think you need to exercise every single day. That is a great goal to aim for. Physical activity is amazing for our health, as research has shown time and time again. It’s why our Stayin’ Wild Challenge aims to make walking 10,000 steps a daily habit.

While it’s great to move a little every day, and make that a habit, you shouldn’t beat yourself up if you don’t exercise every day.

Life gets in the way sometimes. It happens.

Doing some exercise is better than doing none, so if you’re currently moving two days a week – add a third when you can. Build up from there.

The Heart Foundation and The Department Of Health recommend being active on most days of the week and accumulating 2.5 – 5 hours of moderate intensity exercise per week or 1.5 – 2.5 hours of ‘vigorous’ activity. Moderate exercise gets your heart pumping but doesn’t leave you breathless, so it’s an activity like walking, hiking, or cycling. Our favourite kind. 

The bottom line? Try to move a little every day. If you can't, don't beat yourself up! Do some more tomorrow.

Exercise is meant to be hard/painful

Exercise isn’t always easy. Sometimes, you’ll wake up in the morning and you won’t want to roll out of bed to go for a walk or head to yoga. 

But exercise should NOT be painful. One more time for the people at the back. Exercise should NOT be painful.

That old trope 'no pain, no gain' is a bit of bulls**t.

You might be challenged when you hike up a big hill or do a cardio style workout, or your legs might burn a bit during squats or lunges, but it shouldn't hurt. It shouldn't feel bad. If you're just starting out, stick to gentle, more pleasurable forms of exercise such as walking, yoga or swimming while you're getting into a routine, and then you can step it up as you build your strength and confidence. 

Want to challenge yourself and make walking a daily habit to do wonders for your mental and physical health? Why not join our Stayin' Wild Challenge? It's $25 to register and your first buddy goes free. Sign up today.

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