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Fitness Life: Cardio Machine Myths

By Sara Butler

Nothing makes you feel quite as accomplished as busting your buns on a cardio machine at the gym for 60 minutes, especially when you see the display of how many calories you’ve burned. But that machine may not be telling you the whole truth. In fact, there are several myths surrounding cardio machines at the gym; you need to know the truth behind those myths in order to help you gauge how helpful your workouts are toward your health and fitness goals.

Myth No. 1: The Fat Burning Programs Burns Fat

A lot of people hop on the cardio machine, put it in fat burning mode, and then imagine the pounds just melting away. While that would be great, it’s not actually what is happening. What that program option isn’t telling you is that the fat burning program’s aim is to keep your heart rate low. Research has found that working at a lower percentage of your max heart rate does burn fat, you’re still working out at a lower intensity and therefore, you’re burning fewer calories.

If you want to get the most bang for your fat-burning buck when working out, then add intervals to your training program. These add intensity to your workout to help you accomplish your health and fitness goals.

Myth No. 2: The Tally of Calories Burned is Accurate

If you lived in a perfect world, then you could trust the calories burned display on your cardio machine at the gym. But this isn’t a perfect world! The sad truth is that these numbers are often inflated. If you’re going out and enjoying a cheeseburger after your workout because of the all the calories you just burned, then you probably need to reassess.

When the manufacturers of cardio equipment test their machines, it’s often on large, muscular men – not your average person. This throws off the calories burned estimate that is programmed into your gym’s equipment. On average, people burn about 100 calories per mile walked or jogged. Always err on the side of fewer calories burned rather than more and don’t take the reading on the machine as fact.

Myth No. 3: Running or Walking on the Treadmill is Equal to Outside

Treadmills are very helpful, giving you a place to walk, jog, or run no matter the weather outside. But don’t make the mistake of believing that what you’re doing on the treadmill is the same as what you do outside on the road or sidewalk. The motion of the treadmill helps to move your feet and that uses less energy. So, it makes your run or walk easier than it would be outside, so try to do a mixture of outdoor and treadmill workouts to keep it even.

Cardio machines are great additions to any workout, but just understand what they really do for you and your health to use them the right way! 

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Los Angeles, Calif.


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