Below is the first part of a two part series: 10 Health and Fitness Myths Debunked. These myths hold so much unsubstantiated ‘truth’ in the general public. We just assume they’re true because everyone seems to be saying them. All it takes is a little digging and you’ll discover them to be completely false.
Muscle memory – your muscles do not have memory. They don’t remember a single thing. The term ‘muscle memory’ is a common misnomer, yet can be understood very easily. When you do anything for the first time, it seems a bit awkward. Eventually, after doing it over and over again, it becomes second nature. It becomes so second nature that the movement goes from having high priority in your brain (i.e. this is new/different) to being shoved on the back burner. In fact, it will get to a point where you carry out the task subconsciously. Everything from the cognitive process to the physical movement becomes so ingrained that you carry out the movement quickly, efficiently, and often without even thinking about it.
You’ll catch a cold if you don’t bundle up outside – You’ve heard it plenty of times – that you shouldn’t go out in the cold with wet hair, or that you need to bundle up and put on a hat before going out in the cold weather. The common cold is a virus and is transmitted through direct exposure. The best way to avoid catching a cold is to wash your hands regularly and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth often – especially in public areas where transference is easiest (i.e. airports, washrooms, public transportation, crowded areas.)
“So why do I always catch a cold in the winter?”
This is a good question and most people are aware that the prevalence of colds increases during the colder months. This occurs through indirect methods. During the winter months, most people stay inside for more hours of the day. Remaining inside means more people in confined spaces and increased exposure. Sneezing, touching, coughing – they’re all happening in a closed environment. Your likelihood of catching a cold skyrockets.
Don’t crack your knuckles; it’ll lead to arthritis. –The sound you hear when you crack your knuckles is the release of gases inside the joint (oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide). The reason you can’t crack your knuckles repeatedly in a short time span is because it takes time for the gases to build up again. If the noise were derived from bones directly making contact with each other, then yes, this would likely be detrimental over time. Luckily your body isn’t made like that though.
For instances when you can click or crack areas of the body repeatedly, this is a case of the tendons passing over another surface, often bone. A common area is in the foot (try rotating it 360 degrees and listen for anything). The clicking from the foot likely comes from the peroneal muscles on the outside of the foot slipping in and out of their groove. Clicking in the hip region (referred to as dancer’s hip) typically results from either the hip flexor muscles making contact with bone or the iliotibial band on the outside of the thigh making contact with the outer head of the femur. On occasion, the sound can be a result of accumulated cartilage tears in the joint space. Pain is usually experienced in this case.
There is no scientific evidence suggesting that cracking your knuckles leads to joint pain or arthritis. After constantly being heckled by friends and family for cracking his knuckles, Donald Unger began his own experiment; one that would last a half century. He cracked the knuckles on his left hand twice a day for 50 years, while leaving his right hand as a control. The result? No difference in pain or discomfort.
“I don’t have enough time” – to go to the gym, to cook dinner, to pack a lunch, to walk a couple blocks. You do have enough time; you just don’t want to. As humans, rationalization is one of our primary defence mechanisms. We constantly provide justification for our shortcomings, especially when it comes to making healthy choices. We even trick ourselves into truly thinking we don’t have enough time. Spend some time everyday on your health. An hour would be nice, but Arnold wants you to start with just 15minutes. Read Arnold Schwarzenegger’s short post entitled JUST 1 PERCENT.
No Pain, No Gain
People who live by this mantra are silly. You should be pushing yourself, but not actually experiencing pain. The ones who live by ‘no pain no gain’ are beat up and bruised, or they will be in due time. You’re body isn’t an invincible machine. It needs time to recover, adapt, and grow stronger. Busting yourself every single workout won’t do you any good. Seems a bit counterintuitive to exhaust yourself in the gym to the point where you’re struggling to move the next day right? As a result, your productivity will struggle, inside and outside the gym.