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Myths About Physical Activity

Some of the things people say about physical activity aren't true. Unfortunately, if you believe these myths, it can be much harder for you to take physical activity seriously. Here's the truth behind some common myths.

Myth: Someone who's thin is fit.

Truth: Being fit means you have strong and healthy heart, lungs, muscles, bones and joints. Just because someone is thin or of normal weight doesn't mean he or she can run a long distance or open a heavy door. Regular physical activity and balanced eating can help you stay at a healthy weight and prevent disease.


Myth: People don't meet their activity goals because they don't keep at it.

Truth: You may have chosen a goal that's unrealistic. Even highly motivated people don't always meet their goals. But don't give up. Set a new goal that's more reachable and realistic. Then work up to it by achieving smaller goals along the way.


Myth: Jogging is a better activity than walking.

Truth: Walking is an excellent way to get a stronger heart and lungs, and reduce your risk of disease. The important thing is to do an activity you enjoy, whether it's jogging, walking or something else. Aim to be active for at least 30 minutes on 5 or more days of the week. You don't have to do all 30 minutes at once. If it's easier or more convenient, do several 10 minute sessions throughout the day.


Myth: There’s one best way to be physically active.

Truth: There are many types of physical activity that are enjoyable and beneficial for your health. Keep trying new things and have fun. The 3 types of activities that promote overall health are:

  • Activities for strong, healthy muscles and bones, like lifting weights.
  • Activities for safe, healthy joints and muscles, like yoga and stretching.
  • Activities for a stronger heart and lungs, like walking or biking.


Myth: Weight lifting makes you less flexible.

Truth: You won't lose your flexibility if you do your resistance exercises properly, use a full range of movement, and stretch before and after your workout.


Myth: No pain, no gain.

Truth: Muscle soreness, minor aches, and breathing harder are a normal part of becoming more active. However, sharp pain is not OK. Start slowly and progress gradually to avoid injury. By avoiding pain, you'll make better progress.


Myth: Lifting weights makes you gain weight and bulk up.

Truth: Fat cells get bigger when you're not active, and smaller when you're more active. You won't get big, bulky muscles if you lift weights 3 times a week and use a higher number of repetitions with a lighter weight. Just remember, fat doesn't turn into muscle, and muscle doesn't turn into fat.


Last Reviewed: December 2016

© 2016 Province of British Columbia. All rights reserved. May be reproduced in its entirety provided the source is acknowledged. This information is not meant to replace advice from your medical doctor or individual counselling with a health professional. It is intended for educational and informational purposes only.