True / False: 8 misconceptions about the sport to be deconstructed

If we know its benefits on our health, our morale, and our figure, we do not always know how to make the most of its practice. Especially since there is no shortage of preconceived ideas on the subject! We take stock with Dr. Christophe Delong, the sports doctor.

It takes at least 45 minutes of effort for it to serve any purpose

On no account. “From thirty minutes of physical activity, the body begins to build muscle, draw on its fat reserves and secrete endorphins, the hormones of pleasure, which motivates to follow up with a new session quickly,” says Dr. Lelong. No need for this to practice cardio discipline, moderate-intensity activities such as brisk walking are perfect for maintaining fitness and health. The WHO recommends “moving” at least two and a half hours a week, which can simply result in half an hour of cycling or yoga five days a week.

It necessarily makes you lose weight

Not immediately. “When you move, you consume calories! Thirty minutes of Aquagym make fly 120 kcal, a dance class 165 kcal, and a jogging 250 kcal. But for this to act on our line, we must, on the one hand, be patient, because the muscles only begin to tone after six weeks of exercise, and, on the other hand, rebalance our diet by limiting foods that are too fatty and sweet. Finally, if the silhouette is refined, it is not systematically seen on the scale: we take muscle that often weighs more than the lost fat.

Physical activity also strains the brain

Absolutely! This is what emerges from two studies published in 2016, one in February in The Journal of Physiology, the other in August in Cell Metabolism: according to them, physical activity promotes the creation of new synapses and new neurons, thus stimulating our memory and facilitating our learning. It also works on children. Another study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, compared the sports and school performance of five thousand young Britons: the little athletes had better results in mathematics, English, and science than the most sedentary.

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Chess and… cardio

Even if it is not yet included in the Olympic Games, chess is indeed a sport. Measurements revealed that although players sat in their chairs, their heart rate could still rise to 160 beats per minute, which is comparable to brisk walking, while it is between 50 and 90 at rest.

The more you sweat, the better

It’s not true. Sweating is just a good indicator of the effort made. “The greater the physical exertion, the more the muscles are stressed and the more sweat the body produces in order to cool down and maintain an internal temperature of 37°C,” says Dr. Delong. It is not because you sweat that you better maintain your musculature or respiratory capacity or that you lose more weight. If, after your session, your scale shows fewer pounds, this is due to the loss of water. As soon as you have rehydrated, you will return to the initial weight.

Better to practice on an empty stomach

No way! Of course, do not run or swim right after a large meal, at the risk of disrupting digestion. However, doing sports on an empty stomach is not the right option. “The risk of hypoglycemia or malaise is significant.” It is, therefore, better to eat light (some dried and oleaginous fruits, a piece of bread …) before your session. And if you plan a long-term effort such as a football match or a hike in the mountains, consider building up reserves of complex carbohydrates (rice, pasta, potatoes, semolina …) from which your body can draw. To this end, it is recommended to consume it for at least three days before the test.

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You have to stretch right after your session

False good idea… No, stretching does not reduce body aches. “The latter reflects the presence of muscle microlesions and stretching has no preventive or restorative effect.” Worse, they are even not recommended just after exercise, because this tensioning of the muscles can aggravate microcracks with, at the key, risks of tearing or elongation. So it’s better to let your body rest and practice stretching about two hours later.

A competition anti-wrinkle

Canadian research conducted in 2014 revealed that people who did more than three hours of sport a week had, at age 40, a skin ten to twenty years “younger” than sedentary people. The reason? The proteins that are myokines, secreted during physical exertion by the muscles, would slow down the aging process. “Physical activity also strengthens the supporting muscles under the skin and thus tightens the epidermis,” says Dr. Delong. It works regardless of the activity chosen: walking, cycling, swimming, running, yoga… and even gardening!

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