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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Crossfit and Aging

As some of you know, my emphasis area in my degree is Adulthood and Aging (The Psycho-social Perspective) and I think it is crucial that certain individuals understand certain things about aging. Aging is one of the most negatively thought about occurrences we think about as humans. We see becoming older as leading to sickness, being forgotten about, being less active, having less friends, etc....

In most older adults the major reasons for death or developing certain health issues such as mental/cognition problems, cardiovascular diseases, muscle and bone deterioration, or even social/psychological disorders such as hording or extreme phobias. In my research over the past 4 years, I have come to some pretty hard evidence that suggests ways to counteract and avoid many negative associations we see as inevitable in our aging process. Believe it or not, Crossfit and the type of community/life-style it brings is a major cultural happening and it helps combat a large amount of these aging stereotypes.

1) Nutrition: The Paleo/Zone lifestyle of eating natural foods that your body best responds to (get an MRT!!!!) GREATLY combats effects of aging. I won't get into too many details as this is the first of many posts concerning aging but the short story is this; Aging is accelerated due to poor food choices that cause frequent wear and tear inside the body. It weakens our immune system, inflames our joints, and causes less than optimum gene expression to keep out bodies health. "The Paleo Solution" as well as many other books outline how cancer, cardiovascular disease, bone deterioration, even problems with memory can be associated strongly with poor nutrition.

2)Retirement: Retirement and Lack of Purpose are HUGE factors when it comes to aging. Most adults when they retire from a position they have held for the past 30 or 40 years, they do not know how to handle it. Their lifestyle was defined by working around that main title. Since aging adults, for the most part, are no longer parents of young offspring and are retired, it is hard for them to find a meaningful purpose. Crossfit, in my opinion, provides that and then some. A Crossfit box/community has several individuals competing for goals however I believe that they reach those goals through the support of their "team" around them. An aging adults might find this to be a purpose for them. Every day, go to the gym at their class time, see their friends and "team" and get the workout done while cheering on others. Not to mention events and such at the box. I think the Crossfit community is a great way for aging adults to become involved and establish a role after retirement.

3) Fitness: Physical Fitness and movement in general can keep the human body in optimum condition to maintain simple and functional movements (Staple movements of Crossfit) The idea of Crossfit is to use functional movements that can be scaled and varied for all fitness levels. Furthermore, this fitness is intended to be adapted in life-scenarios such as lifting heavy grocery bags, having to pick yourself up after a fall, etc.... In addition, proper fitness helps prevent from certain systems of the body to lose their optimum function and diseases such as osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, cardiovascular disease, and muscle deterioration. Crossfit and functional fitness can easily be applied to our aging population...

This is just a small composition of my knowledge/research leading to certain conclusions about Crossfit as a culture and certain cohorts/generations it can be applied to for benefit. More posts will be coming soon to give a bit more detail in certain areas. Get out and start aging successfully!

WOD: Every Minute on the Minute perform....
5 Deadlift
Max Double-Unders
-Time Stops when 300 Double-Unders have been reached!

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