In last week’s edition of Old Man Fitness, we discussed a number of myths associated with working out that have become so ingrained in the popular consciousness that many of us mistake them for facts. This week, we’re diving right back into that same pile of wives tales, marketing gimmicks and misconceptions about fitness that have managed to worm their way into our brains.

Some of these exercise related myths are harmless enough, others may impede your progress or empty your wallet, but the worst of them can actually result in injuries.

It’s important to note, however, that believing in some of these common myths doesn’t make you foolish or gullible – they’re common for a reason. A combination of contemporary media culture and good old-fashioned human hard wiring has left us particularly susceptible to misinformation about our own health. Our culture (and our media that both reflects and creates it) has long had a bad habit of accepting the opinions and ideas of respected or popular people as facts — and while this has become a focal point of partisan bickering in American politics as of late, it’s been going on since long before our two-party system devolved into gang warfare.

However, it’s actually a little known trait of the human psyche called “source amnesia” that really allows these fake facts to take root inside our brains. Put simply, source amnesia occurs when you remember something, but not where you learned it. For instance, you may know for a fact that giraffes are native to Africa… but can you remember where you first learned that? Probably not – you can make guesses about classes, documentaries, or logical leaps you made as a kid, but unless you’ve been to Africa and seen the giraffes, you’re recounting a fact without any sense of your original source. It makes sense for our brains to work that way, because in most cases, where you learn something from doesn’t matter nearly as much as what it was… unless what you learned happens to be utter bullcrap.