ShutterstockWhen even researchers seem conflicted about exercise subjects ranging from the amount of time we're supposed to dedicate to exercise to the proper time for a workout, it can be tough to feel motivated enough to get moving.
Because there's so much conflicting advice about health and fitness out there, we've outlined the biggest workout myths and misconceptions and countered them (where possible) with the truth. Use this as a guide to get fit in the most efficient way possible.
Myth: Exercise doesn't help counter the negative effects of aging.
Truth: Regular exercise has key benefits for the brain and body that include helping to counteract some of the negative effects of aging.
Researchers behind a study published this summer in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that older people who spent less time sitting and more time moving had fewer signs of encroaching heart disease as measured by key markers of damage in the blood.
The scientists had 1,600 British volunteers ages 60 to 64 wear heart-rate sensors for five days. They analyzed the participants' activity levels and compared them with indicators of heart disease such as cholesterol precursors and a substance called interleukin-6. Overall, the participants with more activity had lower levels of all the negative biomarkers.
"It's important to replace time spent sedentary with any intensity level of activity," said Ahmed Elhakeem, a professor of epidemiology at England's University of Bristol who led the study.
Myth: A sluggish metabolism is the main reason you gain weight as you age.
Truth: As far as calorie-burning capacity goes, our metabolisms barely budge after age 30, according to the National Institutes of Health. That means this frequently vilified component of our bodies is not the real culprit when it comes to the pounds that seem to creep on with each passing decade.
Instead, age-related weight gain has far more to do with activity patterns, which slowly grind down over time. The best way to avoid age-related weight gain is simply to move around more.
Myth: To stay in shape, you need to work out only once or twice a week.
Truth: Once or twice a week won't cut it for sustained health benefits.
For your workouts to produce real results, you should be exercising three to five times a week, Chris Jordan, the exercise physiologist who came up with the seven-minute workout, told Business Insider.
His insight is bolstered by a new study published in January in the American Heart Association's journal Circulation that found that the best results for heart health were gleaned when participants worked out four or five times a week.
Myth: The best time to work out is first thing in the morning.
Truth: The best time for a workout is whatever time allows you to exercise most consistently. Ideally, you want to make physical fitness a daily habit, so if late-night trips to the gym are your thing, stick with it. If you prefer a morning run, do that instead.