Misconceptions about health are aplenty. We are all guilty of believing at least one of these common health misconceptions. Many of them have their origins as unverified old wives’ tales, while some were the result of dated, incomplete studies that have since been disproved with new studies. We take a look at some of the more persistent health misconceptions.
Myth 1: Lifting weights make you bulky
While lifting heavy weights can increase muscle size, what leads to a “bulky-looking” physique is fat accumulation. Even a daily weights session at the gym will not cause you to look like a bodybuilder. Bodybuilders look the way they do through a combination of excess calories and lengthy, intense workout sessions. Lifting weights has the benefits of toning the body, burning fat, and shaping curves. Especially for women who are at a higher risk than men for osteoporosis, lifting can also build strong bones and slow down bone loss.
Myth 2: Public toilet seats cause infections
While public toilets may not be as pristine as the toilet you have at home, catching a disease or an infection from a toilet seat is unlikely. For bacteria to enter your body directly from a toilet seat would require a break in the skin of your bottom. You are more likely to catch an infection from other parts of the toilet, such as a door handle which your hands often come in contact with. Hands are more susceptible to have cuts on them which is a direct path for bacteria to enter. Another way is for the bacteria to catch a free ride on your hand and enter via your nose, mouth or eyes when we touch them.
Myth 3: Radiation from microwave destroys food nutrients
People are afraid of the radiation from microwave ovens. To be clear, microwave ovens use electromagnetic radiation which is not the type that we know of from atomic and nuclear bombs. Food is cooked in microwave ovens as the electromagnetic radiation stimulates molecules in the food, primarily water, making them vibrate, generating heat which cooks or warms the food. There is no residual radiation on the food, and the food does not turn “radioactive”. Because it is so efficient at cooking food, microwave ovens retain more nutrients due to the shorter cooking time!
Myth 4: Bed rest is needed for back pain
Studies have shown that bed rest is rarely the optimal recommendation for back pain. While it may provide temporary relief, staying in bed for too long can actually worsen pain and may pose other serious health risks:
- Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) when a blood clot forms in a deep vein
- Deconditioning of muscles and cardiovascular capacity
- Decreased bone mass
Long bed rest can lead to longer recovery times. Instead, staying active with a mild exercise program would help to boost your recovery.
Myth 5: Cracking knuckles cause arthritis
If you’re worried that your “cracking” habit may lead to arthritis, here’s some good news – studies have shown that moderate knuckle cracking will not increase your risk for arthritis. The “pop” of a cracked knuckle is caused by the bursting of air bubbles in the fluid that lubricate the joints. There is no cause for concern for the occasional cracking. However, if you constantly feel the urge to crack your joints, you should speak to a doctor or a healthcare professional to find out the possible reasons, and give you precise adjustments to move and feel better.