Wasn’t that a great show? Oh, Winnie. Last week I mentioned a few myths that were out there about exercise. Myths that get legs of their own and get perpetuated over and over. (Is that redundant?). I wonder why it is that we hold onto these myths. Do they make us comfortable? Is it a habit?
This morning at the fitness center I was on a treadmill with those darned moving stairs machines in front of me. I am fascinated by the people that use these day after day as they are rather difficult machines to conquer when used properly. That’s the thing, almost no one does. Another myth perpetuated: the faster you go the more calories you burn. That would be true if you weren’t holding on for dear life. Whether it be the moving stairs (official name is the Stepmill) or the treadmill as soon as you hold on you decrease the amount of work you do. I see so many people draped over the top of the Stepmill or hanging onto the treadmill for dear life. Maybe it’s all the calories they see being burned or the ability to run more miles than they thought they could or made it’s ego. I have no idea.
Here’s the deal: the Stepmill and treadmill don’t know you are laying your hands on it. The machine thinks you are simply that fast and strong and calculates caloric expenditure thusly. So even though the machine says you just burned 750,00 calories in one hour, it’s a bit off. Much better to slow down and exercise well. That’s the ego part. Slow down. You will do so much more for yourself if you exercise without holding on.
There is one person at the fitness center I frequent who uses the Stepmill well. I am duly impressed. He goes at a decent clip, one foot over the other with perfect posture, as if someone had a string in his head and was holding him up. For an hour he goes. While reading the newspaper he holds up in front of him. Now that’s talent. He steps once per week. On the other days he does yoga, pilates, runs, strength trains. A model for all of us: balance.
Here’s another myth that I need to do some homework on. Back to our Stepmills. This morning a woman was walking on the thing sideways. I often see this as I am sure you have too. I wonder “why?” My guess is that this woman believes she is doing something special for her inner and outer thighs. Is she? I’d have to guess no and a quick literature search seems to support my thoughts. Again, walking up a Stepmill is difficult enough, let alone sideways. What’s the compensation? Hold on. So now you are holding on while contorted and walking sideways. Maybe we should call that functional training, seems to me that’s the position I assume when carrying a 4 year old and groceries up our back steps.
Somewhere along the line this sideways woman saw someone else doing it and possibly asked the person why. The person may have responded “it works my inner and outer thighs,” and off the person went with a new convert. The fact that we see one person trying something in the fitness center carries alot of weight with us (no pun intended). ”If they are doing that, then so should I” goes the thinking. We never stop and ask ourselves, or better yet ask a professional, “does that work?” We simply do it, incorporate into our workouts, let it become a habit, and then ask, “Why aren’t my thighs looking better?”
Could be all the yogurt and ice cream I ate over the weekend. Straight to the thighs they say. One could wonder why we went to two frozen yogurt shops and had ice cream on a third occasion in the last three days. It’s a good thing to wonder about. Someone told me calories don’t count on Father’s Day Weekend. I chose to believe them.