5 Myths About Better Health

A magnifying glass over the words " myth busting ".

Bust those myths!

Each day, how much time do you spend thinking about how you’re going to take better care of yourself, starting tomorrow? And we all know that tomorrow never comes, which leaves us always one day away from making smart choices.

Well, worry no longer because it’s time to attack the myths that keep too many people at arm’s length from great self-care. Today is the day to take action and embrace those healthy habits you envision.

How many of the following myths apply to you and how can you bust through them?

Myth #1: You need to exercise for one full hour each day all at once.

Fact: Our bodies are designed to move. To operate optimally, our bodies need to move continuously throughout the day with segments of sitting time limited to 45–60 minutes maximum. That leaves lots of time to focus on how we can view any and all movement as positive. Learning to be active in segments of 5-, 10-, or 15-minute intervals often makes it much easier to get started. Even a 1-minute walk to the mailbox to break up an hour of desk work can keep back pain away.

Myth #2: You need to eat healthy foods you dislike to lose weight.

Fact: Eating foods you dislike will quickly lead to reverting back to unhealthy eating habits and feelings of failure. You certainly don’t want that to happen! Eating should be joyful and there are plenty of healthy foods to choose from, so you can spend most of your time eating healthy foods you enjoy.

Making gradual changes helps too. Therefore, focus on healthy foods you enjoy, discover healthy foods you haven’t tried before, increase the time you spend exercising, and get quality sleep as much as possible, and you will see the pounds dropping off! Another tip: If you drink soda, replace it with a healthier drink, including water with lemon, unsweetened iced tea, etc. Soda can contribute significantly to weight gain.

Myth #3: You need to learn to live with stress because there will always be stress in life.

Fact: Yes, there will always be stressful situations that arise, but the important factor is how you react to the stress. Typically, when you are dealing with stress, there is the stress you can control and the stress you cannot. For example, allowing yourself to constantly be overscheduled is stress you can control. You can eliminate the stress by cutting down on your “to do†list.

An example of stress you cannot control is when you are laid off from a job unexpectedly. In this case, you can choose how you react to the situation. Instead of endlessly worrying about the job loss, you can take positive action by thinking about how this may be an opportunity to find a better job. You can take control to reduce your stress; one way is to adopt a more positive mindset.

Myth #4: If you’re thin, you’re healthy.

Fact: Although being overweight leaves people at higher risk of health problems, being thin does not automatically equate to good health. A person in a healthy weight range for their height may also be a person who smokes, doesn’t exercise or eat healthy, has high stress, and doesn’t get quality sleep. Obviously, these habits will leave this person at higher risk for illness and disease than someone who is slightly overweight but practices healthy habits.

Myth #5: Everyone needs to drink 8 glasses of water a day.

Fact: Although drinking water and avoiding dehydration is essential for good health, there are other ways to stay hydrated, including drinking healthy beverages such as unsweetened tea and juice. Foods can also provide fluids, such as fruits, vegetables, and soups.

What other myths can you think of that have provided wrong information about your health? Keep an open mind, bust those myths, and make smart choices for better health!

Carol Phillips is a national health and wellness expert, the award-winning author of 52 Simple Ways to Health, and the radio host of Ask Coach Carol. Her company, Health Design, helps businesses significantly reduce costs and increase productivity by prioritizing health, wellness, and safety practices. Health Design is a SHRM Recertification Provider. Based in Manchester, NH, she can be reached through her website at HealthDesignNH.com.