'20/20' Busts 10 Body Myths


According to Dr. Oz, the stress of a specific event -- like blowing out a car tire on the road -- is "not as damaging as one that's a nagging unfinished task."

Stresses of day-to-day life -- like a demanding boss or pressing deadlines -- aren't particularly damaging either.

But major life stressors, like losing a spouse or a job can have a significant aging impact.

"They really are hugely aging. The great news is there are easy things each of us can do to ameliorate or modify it," Roizen said.

Oz and Roizen say there are some simple ways to de-stress and reduce your risk of major illness -- just by simply bending, breathing and laughing.

Roizen also said friendships offer great anti-aging, health-boosting benefits.

"One important element of staying connected to the world is to maintain friendships," he said. "And we actually have numbers on this. People who see six friends a month actually do better long term. So, if you're gonna put a number in the back of your mind, try to reach out to six folks that you care about every month."

Superfit = Superhealthy

For the majority of us, the more we exercise, the stronger and healthier we are. But excess physical activity is as destructive to your body as Mike Tyson's right hand.

Over-exercising can damage your muscles, your bones and your joints, or it can mask other problems, because you think you're invulnerable, even when you're not.

Professional athletes are not the only ones at risk. From local marathons to your neighborhood gym, chances are you know that person who's obsessed with pushing harder and working out longer than anyone else.

"You always want to be the best at what you do," said former track star and spokesperson for Bally's Fitness Nikki Kimbrough. "So sometimes people tend to over-train, and that's not healthy for us."

It's not just your joints that can be affected. Experts say exercising for more than two hours a day can cause a host of other health problems -- chronic fatigue, problems sleeping, headaches, depression, gastrointestinal problems, difficulty healing, a reduced sex drive, or disrupted menstrual cycle.

"Maximum health doesn't require maximum fitness," said Dr. Michael Roizen. "You don't have to kill yourself to get the huge wonderful benefits of exercise."

Roizen recommends 30 minutes of walking a day, a half an hour of aerobic exercise 3 times a week, and lifting weights for 30 minutes once a week.

And most important, listen to your body. If you're hurting, slow down.

Cholesterol Is the Major Cause of Heart Disease

"It's widely believed but absolutely false," said Oz. "Cholesterol levels are important, but they're not the best predictor of whether you'll have a heart attack. It turns out that honor belongs to high blood pressure."

Blood pressure can tear holes in your arteries. The way the body repairs the hole is to fill it with cholesterol.

"If it's healthy cholesterol you get a nice smooth lining," said Oz. "But if you've got cholesterol that's sort of rotten, now the body has to heal that. The body heals cuts by putting scabs on them and that scab quickly builds on top of this and blocks off the artery."

And that blocked artery can cause a heart attack.

At what age should we start being concerned about our blood pressure?

Dr. Oz says you should start to check your blood pressure at age 12.

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