Participating in a regular exercise routine is one of the best things you can do for your foot and ankle health. You don’t need a fancy gym membership or top of the line exercise equipment in order to physically challenge your body, but at the same time, because there are so many easy ways to exercise, you can easily fall into some bad habits if you’re not careful. In today’s blog, we take a closer look at five fitness myths that you can safely ignore.

Longer Workouts Are Best

There’s no one-size-fits-all duration that you should exercise for, because everyone has different fitness levels and fitness routines. With that said, a longer routine isn’t always better. Pushing yourself too hard for too long a period is a quick way to suffer a soft tissue injury like a strain or tear. You can certainly work to increase your exercise duration, but it needs to be done carefully and slowly over a period of time. Don’t run for 20 minutes one day and expect to do 40 minutes on your next run. Add a couple minutes each time to ensure your body isn’t overloaded by the extended workout routine.

Morning Workouts Are Best

Some people argue that doing your workout first thing in the morning is best to get the blood flowing and increase your metabolism. While it certainly will get your blood pumping, exercising right away in the morning can also throw your body out of its circadian rhythm if you’re not used to this workout. Simply put, you’ll notice the benefits of exercise no matter when you work out, so find a time that works best for you instead of forcing it in first thing in the morning or right before bed.

Stick With What You Know

This myth needs a bit of explaining because if you try to take on new workouts without knowing how to best approach them, you can greatly increase your risk of injury. With that said, this myth more or less speaks to only working out the same muscle groups with your exercise routine. If you’re only walking/running/cycling, you’re only really training muscles in your lower body. Similarly, if you’re only focused on bigger biceps, you may be ignoring your hamstrings. Safely begin to vary your workouts and test new muscle groups.

Stretching

We’ve heard it both ways. Stretching is absolutely essential prior to a workout, and stretching can actually increase your risk of injury if you’re not careful. We stand by stretching as an important part of the pre-exercise routine, but it’s how you stretch that’s important. Static stretches, where you stand in one spot and reach to touch your toes or twist your trunk aren’t a great way to prepare your body for activity, and it can actually lead to injury. Instead, before a workout, do a couple minutes of light cardio to help get blood flowing and prepare muscles for activity. Start walking and ramp it up to a light jog while focusing on your stride and your whole body movement. This is a better way to prepare your body for the rigors of an exercise routine than with static exercises that stretch and pull soft tissues in an abrupt manner.

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