Why CrossFit is Healthy

Have you read the article written by Erin Simmons explaining why she doesn’t do CrossFit? Well Eva M. Selhub has written a blog post in response to that article. It was a very good read.

Eva M. Selhub believes that CrossFit saved her health and has helped thousands of people get healthy. She believes that Erin and those like here are bashing CrossFit because they have personal, ego-based vendettas. CrossFit is not the problem obesity is. Obesity is causing healthcare costs to rise significantly. CrossFit helps couch potatoes get fit because of the influence of someone they know who they can see huge changes in. They can see for themselves how healthier and fitter their friends are.

Why would you want to stop a program that is influencing so many people for the better? No program is perfect and instead of bashing it why not fix the flaws? Here are the top three factors that are focused on the most. Lets fix them.

Bashing factor number one: CrossFit (CF) is dangerous because of the injuries:

This seems to be the most popular, though there is no current literature that validates that CF causes more injuries than any other sport. You can get injured skiing, running marathons, playing football and yes, the new research is pointing to injuries from yoga. I personally am more worried about the broad health implications of the increased morbidity and mortality associated with poor fitness and not being able to get up from sitting on the floor.

So if I were to pull out the value of this argument, I would surmise that the real concern is that novices and people who don’t know their fitness levels are pushing too hard, too fast and getting injured. It seems to me that the solution is asking people to be more mindful and educated, to put their egos aside and understand their fitness level and set appropriate goals, and take into account that the fitness program also involves days of rest and recovery, appropriate sports and life nutrition, and self-care. Oh wait a minute, CF already advocates that.

Bashing factor number two: poor coaching and thoughtless programming:

The claim that CF coaches are under-qualified, as they need only a weekend certification course to teach, which means they are not trained adequately to offer good or safe programming or training to participants, is an important one, though I am not so sure how prevalent.

From my understanding, one can get a personal training degree from doing an online program, so I am not so sure pointing a finger at CF is the answer. It seems to me the answer is education and the need for all teachers, coaches or leaders to understand that pupils, students and participants take your words very seriously. As a doctor I face the same problem, which is why I am very careful about what I recommend and I am constantly staying on top of new literature and my own education.

To pull from the value of this argument, I would suggest that clients, students and coaches should continue to stay educated and programs or classes can be initiated to enable everyone to do so, whether this involves classes on injury prevention, nutrition, stress management, or importance of form. Anyone joining CF or any other exercise program can be smart by doing their own research, getting to know the coaches and seeing for themselves how qualified they are to teach.

Bashing factor number three, is the CF is a cult:

Calling CrossFit a cult holds with it the implication that people who choose to engage in this sport do not think for themselves because they have been drinking some kind of “Kool-Aid”, and that the members are “a relatively small group of people having religious beliefs or practices regarded by others as strange or sinister.”

Studies show that our happiness, motivation and health are tied to the feeling that we belong to a greater community. Studies also show that individuals are more likely to stick to a fitness plan when it is social or there exists social support. In all honesty, if I could get more of my patients to jump on this healthy bandwagon I would. Instead, I will advocate that though a sense of community and belonging is important, people also need to still think for themselves and make wise decisions based on their own needs and fitness levels.

So for all of the CF bashers out there, I am not bashing you, but asking you not to put something down that offers a solution for many people to get off their butts, and instead, help me encourage people to take responsibility for their own health, more educated, mindful and smart.

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