Crossfit: A Physician’s Perspective
This post is geared towards those who already know what Crossfit is and are curious about what an M.D. graduate thinks about it.
In the past 7 years I have read articles FOR and AGAINST Crossfit, written so passionately you would think it was a religion or a political stance. People have opinions over this ‘fad’ that hasn’t gone away and I’m here to contribute mine.
I started in medical school in anticipation of going to Dive School. I caught the bug immediately as it paralleled my competitive spirit and masochistic tendencies. I’ve been to over 30 gyms across the nation as I traveled the US for medical school rotations. I’ve seen kids Crossfit classes and I’ve seen 80 year olds with personal training DOING Crossfit.
Gomer Blog is ‘The Onion’ for Doctors and a popular headline is: ‘Orthopedic Surgeon Creates Crossfit to fund child’s tuition’ Yes, there are certainly a great deal of orthopedic injuries in CF, just like any other sport. However, if people look past the elite athletes you will see the average American just trying to stay in shape.
The following reasons encompass why I think CF is good for the AVERAGE American.
- Builds Healthy Habits. If you catch the bug and make a ton of friends and go to the gym 4-5 times a week, that is a solid habit. Even if you’re not working out the ENTIRE hour, you get your socializing in, your endorphins going and challenges you.
- Rekindles Athletic Abilities. A lot of middle aged people were once high school athletes and have SOME athletic ability. This experience can rekindle what you thought was limited to ‘the best years of your life.’
- Makes Adults Functional. The biggest fear I see in clinic with elderly patients is losing their independence. Whether that be driving privileges or the inability to stand up on their own. Going to the gym combats the trend Americans have built in becoming so sedentary they can’t hold themselves up.
These changes can set off a domino effect that everyone can benefit from. Of course people tend to stray away because CF seems too dangerous or too competitive. That’s OK. I do respect CF’s goals to fight chronic disease because that IS America’s biggest downfall in the healthcare system. Letting Diabetes and Obesity run our healthcare system is a huge deal.
Graduating from medical school I looked back thinking, Adult Medicine isn’t that difficult. The main diseases we combat everyday in the hospital can be PREVENTED. They’re not rare, they’re not House-provoking diagnoses, they are run by two main diseases: Obesity and Diabetes. That is where our efforts should lie and honestly once you get to the hospital because of complications from these diseases it’s too late.
There is no fancy drug, quick fix or easy answer. Building good habits and making sure adults have functionality will improve their QUALITY and QUANTITY of life. CF happens to meet a lot of these goals all in one.