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Is there a CrossFit age requirement?

Updated on June 18, 2013

Fitness for Life

Do you think you are too old to CrossFit? The next time you go to the mall, or any store with the large parking lot, watch the people with handicapped stickers who park in the reserved spots. I'm sure some people need those spots, but if you take a close look I'll bet you'll see many people who would really benefit from parking the farthest away doing some walking (i.e. exercise).

We have become conditioned in this country to just except the fact that fitness is for young people. Americans seem to except the fact that their athletic ability and fitness will seriously decline when we are in our 40s, or 50s. Many people just give up as they get older and use whatever advantage that we can to make our life easier. For most people all these advantages of age (handicapped parking, electric shopping carts etc.) are doing is just contributing to additional health problems.

Anyone who is a CrossFitter will tell you that CrossFit is "Functional Fitness". CrossFit movements and exercises are those exercises which best replicate the movements our bodies are required to do in everyday life. These movements are exactly what those of us who are older need to help us prevent injury, stay healthy and have a great quality of life. There is no age limit to do CrossFit, anyone of any age can do it and see results. In fact, those of us who are older should do CrossFit. Don't believe it, read on.

I'm 55, why bother with CrossFit?

CrossFit helps prevents injury

How many older people do you know that have fallen and broken an arm or hip? Do you know someone using a cane? How about someone who has lower back problems because they threw their back out?

Ten elements of fitness are incorporated into different WODs (Workout of the Day). Each of these, alone or in combination, helps prevent injury. Having better balance, coordination and agility helps prevent falls. Better stamina and endurance prevents us from over taxing ourselves. Better strength and flexibility helps by preventing muscle pulls or worse that come with age.

1. Cardiovascular/respiratory endurance- The ability of body systems to gather, process, and deliver oxygen.
2. Stamina - The ability of body systems to process, deliver, store, and utilize energy.
3. Strength - The ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply force.
4. Flexibility - The ability to maximize the range of motion at a given joint.
5. Power - The ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply maximum force in minimum time.
6. Speed - The ability to minimize the time cycle of a repeated movement.
7. Coordination - The ability to combine several distinct movement patterns into a singular distinct movement.
8. Agility - The ability to minimize transition time from one movement pattern to another.
9. Balance - The ability to control the placement of the body's center of gravity in relation to its support base.
10. Accuracy - The ability to control movement in a given direction or at a given intensity.

CrossFit helps recovery & fights disease

If you don't think being fit matters in the prevention and treatment of disease you should think again. Aren't fit people less likely to suffer other complications from major surgery? Won't recovery be easier and faster? Do you know someone who had surgery for one thing, but had serious complications because they had cardiovascular, respiratory problems or other problems? What about radiation and chemotherapy treatment for cancer? Aren't fit people better able to cope with and endure cancer treatment?

CrossFit helps Promote and Maintain a Positive Mental Attitude

As we grow older it is too easy to look at things an say, "I can't do that" or "I can't do that anymore". "Can't" just becomes regular part of our vocabulary and our lives. By being able to physically accomplish things that you never thought were possible, demonstrating effort and improvement you can eliminate the word "Can't" from your vocabulary.

The word "Can" has a strong impact on people far beyond fitness.

CrossFit is Supervised and Scaled based on ability, not age

Every athlete (everyone no matter their age or ability who does CrossFit is considered an athlete) who does CrossFit at an authorized CrossFit affiliate is supervised by a CrossFit certified coach (trainer). CrossFit coaches are there to make sure you do the workout and exercises safely, correctly and to push you so that you get the maximum benefit from each CrossFit WOD.

Many people, including older people, are afraid of CrossFit because they see extreme examples of super fit athletes competing in the CrossFit games and automatically think, "I can't do that". While those athletes are great examples and you'll see some super fit people at your local CrossFit Box (Gym), you'll also see a good cross section of people at all levels of fitness.

The Coach will make an assessment and "Scale" or modify your workout based on your ability when you first start. If you can't do pull-ups, the coach will show you a substitute. If you can't run, the coach will tell you to walk or row. If the WOD is 20 minutes the coach may have you do 10 minutes instead. If you can't do box jumps, the coach will have you do step ups. You don't have to compete in the CrossFit Games to CrossFit; the goal is to continue to improve your fitness. The coach is there to make sure you are safe, but also to help you become a little better, stronger and faster each time you workout.

CrossFit at age 65

Walk into any CrossFit Gym and you'll immediately find that there is no CrossFit age requirement. If you still aren't convinced that you should, or can do CrossFit when you're older watch the video to the right. Only one person is in their 30s. Three are in the 40s, three are in their 50s and Randy is 65 years old. Everyone in the video has being doing CrossFit for a couple of years, but they all starting with the basics and scaled their workouts. If you look closely you'll see that many are still scaling (pull-up bands, stepping down from box jumps).

I'm 51 years old and am doing things that most high school kids can't do. I didn't start CrossFit until I was 47 and to be honest I never thought that I would be able to do the things that I'm able to do ever again. Several people 60's do CrossFit with us. One lady just celebrated her 60th birthday by running the first mile she has ever run in her life!

Do away with your self-imposed age restrictions and find your local CrossFit affiliate. See for yourself. You might be surprised at how many "older" athletes are training with them!

How old were you when you 1st started CrossFit?

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