Exercise is a well-known way to stay healthy both mentally and physically. To maintain a high fitness level there are many different types of exercise. So many in fact, that it makes it difficult to know which is best for your needs. For this reason, many people turn to the latest fad filled with promises of significant weight loss, stronger bodies, and overnight successes. While some of these fads do make valid points and can be healthy, there are many that have actually had the opposite effect and hurt the well-being of those who tried them.
Here are 4 fitness fads that have had adverse effects on the health of the people who tried them.
Mad about Marathons – Running has been around since the human race came to be and because of the well-known health benefits to getting in miles on the road or trail more people have set their sights high on conquering a marathon. While this is a feat in and of itself, when not trained for properly, as many people fail to do, it can actually be an unhealthy mission to try to accomplish. Instead, start training slowly and give yourself adequate time for your body to reach the level necessary to conquer a marathon. Without proper training, you risk injury and overloading your body with joint damage from the pounding of the pavement which ultimately has adverse effects.
A Suit for the Sauna – Avid fitness gurus know the benefits of a good relaxing trip to the sauna after a workout. However, new fads amped up what could be considered healthy to make it extremely dangerous and unhealthy. Sauna suits are plastic attire that resemble large trash bags and are made to wear into the sauna to help draw out excess water weight and slim a person down quickly. But wearing plastic into a sauna is extremely dangerous. Drawing out that much water and increasing your body temperature so quickly can cause fainting, heat stroke and has even led to death in some circumstances when the suit was taken too far.
Six Pack in Minutes – Marketing messages that overpromise the benefits of a product are nothing new. However, in this case the overpromise of getting a six-pack of muscles in only eight minutes led to a craze of purchasing pulsating belts to activate the abdominal muscles while the person sat in a chair. The worst part about this fad was not the vastly reduced meeting of expectations from anxious customers. Instead, it was the fact that the promises were so extravagant and had people believing in the possibility of some truth behind them that they dropped all other exercise off from their routine. This in turn created more sedentary people, higher rates of obesity among the users of the product and an overall lack of health.
Drink Your Way to Fitness – For decades, makers of popular drinks has promised results of simple consumption of a drink in lieu of exercise. Appropriately titled exercise in a bottle, makers of this and other similar products promised that the gym was not as necessary when consumers drank from this bottle. While this was wildly untrue, it also caused people to truly believe that they could avoid the gym and get miracle like results simply by taking a few sips of a drink. This claim was so devastating to consumers that the company ended up having to fork over $10 million in consumer reimbursement.
The moral behind these and other fitness fads is to always do your research and talk to your doctor before beginning any of these or similar regimes. Falling for the hype has the potential to not only waste your money, but also leave you unhealthy and in some cases with significant injuries.
Joyce Del Rosario is part of the team behind Open Colleges, one of Australia's leading providers of Open Colleges massage courses and Courses for Personal Training. When not working, Joyce blogs about health and fitness.