CrossFit and Health

Some of the most common questions I get asked are “Doesn’t everyone get injured?” or “isn’t CrossFit super bad for you?”. People are usually surprised that as a physio I highly recommend CrossFit. The workouts are super functional and varied (Jillian Michaels—literally no idea what you’re talking about on Shape’s Insta). I love treating CrossFit athletes. They are incredibly motivated, and performance is critical to them. We can both track their progress throughout treatment with their PR’s and that’s rewarding for both of us.

It actually is starting to bother me when people associate CrossFit with injuries. There is a potential risk of injury with any activity or training program. It’s usually the amount of load and volume of training your body is accustomed to that causes injury, not a certain sport or activity. That’s why it’s important to start at a moderate level and increase your tolerance to the activity from there. There is absolutely no academic research that shows CrossFit is associated with increased risk of injury compared to other activities. The few reputable studies that have looked at CrossFit compared to other recreational activities found no difference (Moran, 2017; Montalvo 2017). My point with this blog post is to hopefully stop the surprisingly popular belief that CrossFit is negative for your body.

As healthcare practitioners we sometimes are guilty of using language that implies a weakness or vulnerability in the human body (this ___ body part is unstable, this joint is “out”). I think that’s why I love the idea of Crossfit- it’s focused on building strength and functional fitness, and people can feel and see themselves getting stronger. Another aspect that I absolutely love and respect about CrossFit is the community amongst their members that they build. That’s really hard to find in the fitness world.

As all of my patients know, if you come in to see me and you don’t have a regular physical activity plan, I don’t care what you came in for, we are going to try brainstorm a way to incorporate daily physical activity into your life. One of the largest populations I see that has difficulty staying active are the post high school/college athletes. The transition from team sport, regular training schedules to adult regular life is difficult, and they struggle to find regular fitness that keeps them motivated as sports once did.

My husband is a prime example of one of these people. Playing sports and being an athlete was a huge part of his life but keeping up with that as an adult was difficult. So, the activity I thought that would be a perfect match was CrossFit. And he’s been loving it. I love recommending CrossFit to these types of people, because you get a community/team mindset while personal performance is emphasized.

CrossFit is scalable, and from what I’ve seen from instructors in my local area they prioritize form over reps. So, if you’re asking if CrossFit is safe: YES. Find a good gym, and slowly increase your volume of training, but YES. And I highly encourage it. What isn’t safe is not finding a regular physical activity to incorporate into your life. You are far, far more at risk of injury and illness if you don’t commit to being physically challenged in some capacity. Find an activity you love, and then do it often.

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