-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
SUNDAY, Feb. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Several often-cited fitness
"facts" are really myths, according to experts on exercise.
For example, stretching before exercise doesn't actually reduce
the risk of injury, the American Council on Exercise (ACE) said in
a Feb. 14 news release, after examining research conducted over the
past decade. However, stretching can help prevent injuries at other
times, such as after a workout.
"Static stretching," where you extend a muscle group to its maximum and hold it for up to 30 seconds -- for example, a static leg stretch -- doesn't boost exercise performance, ACE cautioned. On the contrary, static stretching before a workout can have a negative effect on explosive activities, such as sprinting and jumping, and on maximal strength production.
Instead, ACE recommended including some "dynamic" stretches in a
warm-up routine. One example of dynamic stretching would be a
sprinter doing long, exaggerated strides to prepare for a race,
according to the ACE website.
Running is actually better than walking for those who want to
burn more calories. Although walking is a great physical activity,
the experts stressed, running requires 40 percent more energy.
Finally, lactic acid doesn't really cause acidosis and muscle
fatigue during exercise. This myth has commonly been viewed as fact
due to the misinterpretation of research. The group said that
lactate is helpful during high-intensity exercise.
The U.S. National Institutes of Health has more about
exercise and physical fitness.
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