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  • Mick

CrossFit Helps Maintain Independence in Older People!

It’s a fact. There is significant evidence (outside and inside the CrossFit community) that resistance exercise performed at high intensity across all modal domains will help you maintain your independence as you reach your senior years.

In April 2020, the New Scientist Published an article called “RE THINKING EXERCISE -why strength not fitness holds the key to a longer life”. With specific evidence from studies carried out across the globe, the author Helen Thompson lifted the lid on what the fitness industry had known for some time, that everyone should lift, squat and push weight!

In 2011, the UK exercise guidelines recommended that people should perform muscle strengthening exercise two times a week. Thompson goes on to quote the World Health Organisation saying the same thing.

Thompson pointed out statistics that are a sobering reflection on where we are as a population. Basically, the weaker a person becomes the higher the possibility of a shorter life.

So, what are the benefits and how does it work? Lets start with bone structure. Your bones are in a constant state of flux. As we age our bones thin. Osteoclasts reduce the bone density taking away bone mass, Osteoblasts do the opposite. Strength training can reduce the osteoclasts and increase the osteoblasts, improving the bone density. This significantly reduces the risk of osteoporosis which causes 1.66 million hip fractures globally each year.

Then there is strength. We know that a sedate life can thin muscle mass, but it doesn’t have to be that way. You can still build strength well into old age. Stuart Gray who studies metabolic diseases at Glasgow university says “people need to know that strength training at any age is important.”

When the UK guidelines were issued the first line was on aerobic fitness (150 minutes per week) but the second line on strength training was forgotten. At a recent seminar to Chiropractors, delegates were made aware that Quadriceps muscle mass relative to age were significant factors in knee pain. #Wang et al 2020.

Then there are the neurological benefits. People have falls because their balance decreases. Actively challenging that though movements that require coordination can help maintain all the neurological pathways of coordination, agility and balance.

All of the above is challenged by doing CrossFit. Its not the only thing you can do but very few regimes cover the wide spectrum of health benefits that CrossFit does. It’s a simple choice, a sedate life means poor bone density and weak muscle mass, just what you don’t need if you want to maintain your independence as you age.

Its not too late though. Studies have also shown that even if you’ve lived a sedate life, you can still guard against chronic diseases like Diabetes and obesity and increase your quality of life by building the strength you need to maintain and independent life. Fitness is not only for doing sport, its for everyday life too. Want to play with your children or grandchildren? Shape up and it will be easier.

We help busy people get fit and strong in our welcoming environment at any age.

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