When you think about CrossFit, what comes to mind? It’s probably something like athletes doing deadlifts or people flipping tires larger than their own bodies. It’s probably not senior citizens or your elderly loved ones. For people who are healthy enough for activity, CrossFit can provide some pretty compelling advantages. But how old is too old for CrossFit?
CrossFit for Older Adults
It can be tough to build and maintain muscle. It’s even tougher with age. Natural aging leads us to lose aerobic endurance, muscle strength, and flexibility. This is part of the reason why seniors are at greater risk of suffering from a musculoskeletal injury, like those from a fall.
Many forms of exercise only target one specific muscle, or they target one area of one muscle. That kind of fitness makes your body better at performing highly specific motions. But those motions won’t necessarily translate into performing the activities of daily life, because something as simple as brushing your teeth requires dozens of different muscle groups.
Benefits for Seniors
CrossFit combines weights with intervallic training to create a unique style of working out. Instead of using simple motions that target highly specific areas, CrossFit aims to train muscles to perform complex patterns. In doing so, it better approximates the movement patterns used by the activities of daily life.
Though it may have a reputation for training young athletes, what CrossFit really does is train general physical preparedness. Consequently, it can offer seniors the strength necessary to help maintain their independence.
CrossFit Programming for Seniors
How old is too old for CrossFit? As it turns out, CrossFit can be structured to accommodate a range of physical limitations. Equally important, the intensity of CrossFit can be scaled to match the changing needs of an active person.
Regardless of age, it can be useful to work with an experienced trainer, especially at the start. Someone familiar with the exercises can guide practitioners towards the safest and most effective methods for performing the various movements.
Additionally, CrossFit trainers are often aware how to maintain fitness following injuries or surgeries. And because CrossFit programming for seniors is quite common, trainers often have experience working specifically with older adults.
One of the reasons CrossFit has become so common among seniors is because it’s approachable for people with limited financial resources. Once you know how to perform a few exercises properly, it’s often possible to set up your own CrossFit training area from almost any space.
Staying in Shape
With the right program, a person is never too old for CrossFit. It’s highly adaptable, and for seniors, CrossFit can support the strength necessary to maintain independence. Though our physical limitations change with age, our need for physical activity remains nearly constant.
Whether it’s CrossFit or something else, staying active is important, and consistency is what really counts. The best workouts will always be whatever seems enjoyable enough to become a regular part of your life.