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Stretching & Workout Myths Revealed, Part I

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As soon as you started working out you probably had “experienced” exercise experts lining up to give you advice on how to maximize your workouts, avoid injury, or get around that occasional soreness. I’d be willing to bet, however, that some of those well-meaning enthusiasts blessed you with advice that was nothing more than myth; some of which can do more harm than good. Beware the following:

Myth #1: Take a hot bath or shower to recover from a workout.

While sitting in a hot bath or taking a shower after a workout certainly feels incredible, it actually makes your next-day muscle pain worse. The reason is that your intense workout results in tiny microscopic tears in the muscle which are slowly leaking blood. A hot bath causes expansion in the blood vessels, allowing more bleeding to occur. Instead, use ice or cold compresses on the areas you think may be sore. The ice will restrict blood flow for a short period of time and, once removed, will allow fresh blood to return to the muscles and carry out the toxins and lactic acid created by your workout. You may still feel sore the next day, but it won’t be as bad as if you had taken a hot shower first.

Myth #2: Drink when you are thirsty.

You should be drinking before, during, and after a workout – no exceptions. It does not matter if you feel a sensation of thirst or not. As a matter of fact, the sensation of thirst is your body’s way of telling you that you are on your way to dehydration. Your body needs water to regulate your body temperature and keep you cool during your workout. Dehydration can quickly lead to complications such as heat stroke or exhaustion. There is no shame in stopping your exercise or sports activity to sip your water or electrolyte beverage of choice. Your muscles need to remain hydrated in order to function properly as well. Staying hydrated could save your life.

Myth #3: A muscular injury on one side of my body means one leg is longer than the other.

This is not necessarily true. While it is obvious that some people do have one leg longer than the other, sometimes it only appears as though this is the case.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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