June 10, 2022

Fitness myths are everywhere. However, this isn’t unique to fitness. Is there a way to decrease the spread of fitness myths? Does refutational teaching work in the context of fitness? Refutational teaching has been shown to be an effective combative strategy in different areas of science.

Refutation Text and Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is important in both education and everyday thinking. It has been shown to have positive associations with a range of important outcomes (Stanovich et al. 2016), and a key component of critical thinking is holding evidence-based beliefs (epistemic rationality).

Misconceptions—beliefs that are contradicted by evidence—can be a roadblock to critical thinking. When these misconceptions are strong they are highly resistant to change; overcoming this resistance may require strategies that go beyond what is used in standard textbooks and teaching models. Presenting students with factual knowledge, alone, and expecting them to critically evaluate and make conceptual changes appear to be inadequate, especially when attempting to refute inaccurate or incomplete beliefs.

This type of information, often referred to as expository text, is intended to explain material without mention of associated misconceptions. The scientific literature shows there is better method for combating misconceptions. Refutation (or refutational) text has been used in various disciplines and has been shown to be particularly useful in combating misconceptions about science. Although misconceptions exist in virtually every subject area, they appear to be highly prevalent in science (Maria 2000). read more

The Origins of Myths

Myths in the context of this article are conceptualized as misinformation, misconceptions, false beliefs, or erroneous claims. Myths can be found in virtually every field. Sometimes myths can be relatively harmless, while other times they lead to bad decisions and negative consequences. Myths contribute to epistemic irrationality: holding beliefs that are not supported by evidence and sometimes directly in opposition to evidence. Epistemic irrationality may lead to undesired responses including using ineffective medical treatments because of failure to think of alternative causes, poor financial decisions because of overconfidence, misjudging environmental risks because of vividness, acquisition of contaminated mindware of Ponzi and pyramid schemes, being wrongly influenced in jury decisions by incorrect testimony about probabilities, inappropriate goal setting, damage to intellectual vales, and so on (Stanovich et al. 2016).

Social and cognitive scientists studying myths often examine their sources and how individual characteristics impact the formation, spread, and belief in myths. Understanding these variables is important in studying myths. Some of the primary sources of myths include word of mouth, assuming correlation means causation, and the need for easy fixes read more

What Science Says About the Fat Burning Zone

One of the primary reasons people give for exercising is they want to lose weight, more specifically body fat. You may have seen those charts on treadmills, bikes and other cardio equipment that show the “Fat Burning Zone.” This zone is where you need to be if you want to lose body fat. The zone is generally presented as a percentage of maximum heart rate or a percentage of VO2max (maximum amount of oxygen consumption). Maximum heart rate is determined by subtracting your age from 220, so if you are 50 years old your maximum heart rate is 170. There are various ways to determine VO2 max, but the important thing to understand is that the higher the percentage, the more intense and harder the workout. Approximately 60% of maximum heart rate is often referred to as the fat burning zone. That level of exertion is relatively low intensity; most people can talk and not get out of breath at that intensity level. Supposedly exercising at this intensity level will result in a higher level of fat burning and result in greater long-term weight loss, compared with doing the same or similar exercises at higher intensities (Douglas 2018).

Your body is capable of using various energy or fuel sources; they are always being used at varying levels and are influenced by different factors including genetics, dietary intake, activity type and intensity. The body uses carbohydrate sources including glucose (blood sugar) and glycogen (glucose stored in the liver and muscle) for energy production. Other sources include fat stored inside muscle and fat stored in fat cells. Protein can also serve as an energy source but has a minimal contributing to the energy cycle and only becomes relevant during ultra-endurance events and when calorie intake is severely limited. read more

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Examining Common Obesity Myths

Obesity is associated with cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, stroke, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, and respiratory problems. Obesity is a condition of having a BMI (body mass index) of 30–39.9. People labeled as extremely obese have a BMI of 40 or greater. The BMI is determined using a calculation involving the mass and height of a person. It is reasonable to suggest that a high BMI represents excessive body fat in most cases. However, not everyone rating high on the BMI have excessive body fat. As examples, football players, bodybuilders, and strength athletes may rate high on the BMI but have low to moderate amounts of body fat.

Obesity myths are beliefs or claims about obesity that are refuted by scientific evidence. These myths pervade popular press and appear in higher education, media, public policy, and everyday discussions. Recognizing and combating the spread of these myths is important; it is essential to be aware of “what science says” and to use the findings to promote healthier lifestyles. read more