TODAY   |  January 21, 2014

Should you stretch? Fitness myths vs. facts

Kristin McGee, Health magazine’s contributing fitness editor, joins TODAY to separate some fitness myths from facts to help you sort out what could be hindering your workout, including whether running is bad for your knees.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> you made a resolution this year to get fit. for the last few weeks, you've been sticking to it. why aren't you seeing those results?

>> well, those fitness myths are holding you back.

>> here to help you to get more from your workout is kristin. good to see you.

>> good to see you, too.

>> we want to start with the results of our poll. we ask, the more you sweat, the more you burn. is that true? more than 10,000 of you voted, 72% said myth, 28% say fact. what is the truth?

>> they are -- i'm very impressed, they are all correct. it is a myth.

>> it's a myth.

>> yes. just because you're drenched in sweat doesn't mean you've burned any extra calories, it's really your body's way of cooling your skin and regulating your temperature.

>> could mean you're out of shape.

>> or could mean that the studio was hot or the temperature was different that day or it's just your own body's physiology.

>> that's a myth. you're going to quiz us on some of these other things.

>> here's one that's good. running is bad for your knees, truth or myth.

>> depends on the terrain, your age, i think it depends on --

>> i'm going to say myth because the conventional wisdom --

>> you're right.

>> myth.

>> i'm very impressed. everyone thinks it's so bad for your knees. despite common knowledge, it isn't that bad for your knees. studies, runners, older runners' knees are no less healthy than those who don't run. in a sense, you're right, our quads and hamstrings are out of balance.

>> i think it's posture, if your feet are not placed correctly, it's starting to break down the structure. like a faulty foundation for a building.

>> what you need to do is add strength training . if you have -- like you said you do your pilates, anything that will cross train and make sure your knees are safe.

>> and good shoes.

>> yes. here's a good one. yoga is not a big calorie burner, truth or myth?

>> myth.

>> it is not -- it's a fact. o yoga is not. people might think it is, but really, you're only burning 237 calories in an average --

>> that's pretty good.

>> say you ran for 50 minutes or did a spin class for 50 minutes, you're going to burn twice that amount of calories. if you're doing it for weight loss , great for stress reduction, strength, flexibility, but not like it's a huge calorie burner.

>> yeah.

>> in comparison to, you know, if you did a spin class for 50 minut minutes, you're going to torch a ton of calories. you should stretch before every workout?

>> yeah.

>> yeah. warm up and then --

>> depends what you're doing.

>> you guys are --

>> caveat.

>> you guys are great.

>> it's not a black and white situation.

>> this one is a myth. in a sense. you shouldn't do static stretches before you work out. that's a 30 second hold, you want to save that for after when your joints are loose and you can gain that flexibility. you want walking lunges, knee swings, anything that gets the blood flowing.

>> when should you not stretch?

>> don't do those holding stretches before you work out, save them for after.

>> all right. good.

>> here's one, too. you need to sweat for 45 minutes to get a health benefit.

>> nah.

>> i don't think so.

>> you guys are right. that is a myth. they've shown 30 minutes a day, ten minutes a day is enough to get cardiovascular benefits. and when you break those up into ten-minute segments, you'll do more for your blood pressure .

>> multitask.

>> but if you really want to lose weight , you'll have to be active on most days of the week. at least 250 minutes of activity to lose weight .

>> how about one more.

>> skipping sleep can cause weight gain .

>> sure.

>> 100%.

>> yep.

>> you know, on average women who had slept less than seven hours gained weight. and here's the thing, even moderate sleep deprivation ups your body's hormone and that is what causes you to be hungry all day long.

>> seven hours sounds like a lot.

>> how could i have won when i --

>> we missed --

>> they didn't like my caveats.

>> i waited to hear what she said and repeated it. i don't know how i could win. thanks so much. congratulations on timothy.

>> timothy, 5 months.