Yes, You Are Strong: Why Women Over 50 Should Try CrossFit
Regardless of whether or not you’re a gym rat or a fitness novice, you’ve probably heard of CrossFit. This workout involves a combination of weightlifting, gymnastics, and endurance in the form of high-intensity, functional movements. It can seem overwhelming and suited only for the fittest, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. CrossFit can be modified to any fitness level, which makes it perfect for women over 50. You don’t have to be an athlete, in fact, even if you haven’t stepped foot in a gym in years, CrossFit is right for you. While improved general health is the goal, older women will also experience greater confidence as well as camaraderie from a group of people pushing each other to be their best. Read more about why women over 50 can benefit from CrossFit.
“I Can’t Do CrossFit.”
I’ve heard this and all the other excuses that go along with it a hundred times. Older women assume that CrossFit is only for the young and fit. If you’ve ever seen a CrossFit class or competition it can be intimidating. People lifting double their bodyweight overhead, climbing ropes, and swinging from a bar can make any newcomer feel out of place.
Almost all CrossFit gyms have an “on ramp” program to help you adjust to new movements. No coach is going to allow you to walk into their gym and start handling a barbell. Just like you, the last thing they want is for you to injure yourself. You will begin with simple bodyweight movements such as a squat or stepping onto a box. The goal is to first test your endurance and mobility. You have to walk before you can run (literally).
You need to weightlift to prevent disease and injury.
It’s no secret that a sedentary lifestyle leads to chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease. CrossFit incorporates everything from weightlifting to running to mobility and balance. A CrossFit WOD (Workout of the Day) may only be 10-15 minutes long but will have your heart rate up the entire time. Along with losing pounds and toning muscles, many people notice a drop in blood pressure and insulin levels.
Osteoporosis is a condition that affects older women more than any other demographic. Women naturally have thinner bones, and with a loss of hormones after menopause, bones become weaker. One of the best ways to combat this is with weight-bearing exercise. And while CrossFit gets a bad wrap for causing injury, the opposite is more likely. Your mobility will improve with CrossFit. Your joints are meant to move, and keeping them mobile prevents stiffness and pain. Practicing squats or deadlifts means you’re less likely to throw your back out doing everyday activities like gardening or laundry.
Remember to always exercise at your pace. Listen to your body and don’t risk your safety. If you aren’t comfortable with a movement, don’t do it or ask your coach for a modification.
You will feel better mentally and emotionally.
We all know that exercise releases endorphins that improve your mood. But CrossFit isn’t just exercise. You aren’t in a commercial gym spending 20 minutes walking on a treadmill with headphones in so you can tune out the world. I won’t sugarcoat it, CrossFit is tough. It’s meant to be exhausting to build your stamina and mental fortitude. Consistency is the key to progress. One day you’ll be dreaming about doing a push-up and six months later you’ll be doing five in a row. And you know what feels great? Reaching a new fitness goal you never thought possible. Your confidence will skyrocket and you’ll feel more inclined to take on challenges, inside and outside the gym.
You are part of a community.
One of the best aspects of CrossFit is the community. Once you join a CrossFit gym, you become part of a family. These are people you see on an almost daily basis and your CrossFit gym becomes your second home. You will sweat and struggle with these people. Sometimes you will fail with them, but they will always push you and cheer you on. You’ll notice that these friendships spill into everyday life and making life-long relationships is common.
Elisha Giuliano has been doing CrossFit for four years and states “mentally I’m better than ever, and physically my body is doing things that I never dreamt were possible. Walking into my first CrossFit class my thoughts were, I’m either going to die or really embarrass myself. My mind tells me to push myself as if I were an athletic 20-year-old, as the whole class cheers me on. I continue to reach new Personal Records on a regular basis. It’s all because of the community that becomes a Fit Family.”
The greatest aspect of CrossFit is that it can be tailored to anyone and everyone. Let me say it again; there is no one that can’t do CrossFit. I will also be the first to say that watching an older woman get her first pull-up or master a box jump is inspirational and pushes me to be a better athlete. You are already a role model to your friends and family, and you owe it to yourself to be the strongest woman emotionally and physically for yourself. I challenge you to contact your nearest Crossfit gym and try out a class or two. You have nothing to lose, and only strength and confidence to gain.
At-home workouts are all the buzz now with coronavirus closing gyms and fitness studios across the country. And if you’re looking for a daily workout routine that combines aerobic and strength training, 80 Day Obsession seems to be a top contender.
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