Experts say that beliefs we develop at a young age about what is or isn’t healthy can stick with us all our lives. And that’s a problem if those beliefs don’t hold up to scientific scrutiny. These are some myths about diet, exercise, and sleep that we need to stop believing.
- Myth 1: Popular diets are everywhere so they must work - The idea of being able to lose weight fast is appealing, but fad diets often limit what you can eat by banning entire food groups, like keto, which outlaws grains, legumes and most fruits. But skipping those important nutrients isn’t healthy and according to the CDC, restrictive diets “tend to fail in the long run.”
- Myth 2: It’s okay to take your smartphone to bed - Most of us do it so we can check our feeds one last time, but research has linked nighttime use of smartphones to trouble falling asleep, sleeping less & tiredness because of the harmful blue light from the phone.
- Myth 3: Social media can inspire you to diet and exercise - Research shows young people think diet and fitness videos on social media will motivate them to work out or diet, but experts say that can lead to social comparisons and body dissatisfaction, which are risk factors for eating disorders.
- Myth 4: Hitting snooze helps you get more sleep - Lots of us hit that snooze button to squeeze in a few more minutes of sleep, but it may be backfiring. Our brains fall back into a new dream cycle after we press snooze and when the alarm goes off a few minutes later, we may be in the middle of that cycle and wake up groggy and stay groggy longer, too.
- Myth 5: You can lose belly fat with crunches - Sadly, you can’t target specific areas to remove fat and in reality, the exercise burns fat all over the body, not just where the workout targets.
- Myth 6: It’s best to stay in bed when you can’t sleep - Sleep experts say it’s actually one of the worst things you can do if you can’t sleep for more than 20 minutes because it trains the brain to associate the bed with a lack of sleep. You’re better off getting up to do something boring, just stay off screens and keep the lights dim.
- Myth 7: Working out or dieting all the time can change your body type - There’s a belief that if you exercise or diet more you can get your body to look a certain way, but the reality is that there’s a big range of diverse body types that are normal and healthy.
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