By Dr. Jonathan Cartile, DC

There are many confusing ideas around physical fitness & health. These are the 4 most common misconceptions that come up in my chiropractic practice.

Myth #1 – Sit ups and crunches are needed for strong abdominal muscles. Research from the U.S military has shown an increase in lumbar disc injury from regular abdominal crunches and sit ups. They have changed their basic training regime to cut out the more traditional abdominal exercises for plank and core exercises. The Canadian military and U.S navy are also following suit to reduce injury.

Myth #2 – Calcium is the only thing needed to prevent osteoporosis. This is a very simplistic view of a more complex disease. While calcium is vital for healthy bones, the body uses calcium to help moderate acidity in our body (ph levels). When we have an acidic diet (protein and trans fat heavy, low fibre) our body has to use the calcium that would be going to good bone health towards alkalizing the body. One other major factor is weight bearing exercise. Bone grows in the direction of stress. By loading the bones with weight bearing exercise you stimulate the body to lay down new bone.

Myth #3 – Static stretching before exercise will prevent injury. The research is in! Doing static stretching does not prevent injury and might possibly add to our injury woes. Warming up is very important but you want to do that with movement exercise. If you are going to play golf for example. Start with nice slow controlled movements that you use in your golf swing. Trunk rotations, wrist rolling, squats, leg and arm swings. Think of it as preparing the muscles for what they are about to do, as opposed to just loosening up. Tightness is sometimes there in the body to protect it.

Myth #4 – Cracking you knuckles will give you arthritis. There is no research to back up this claim. The cracking sound is bubbles of gas in the joint imploding under negative pressure. It takes about 15 minutes for these gases to build up, hence why you have to wait to crack your knuckles again. With people who habitually crack their knuckles, they can be prone to hyper-mobility of their knuckles which can lead to pain and discomfort over time.