Is CrossFit safe for the joints?

Is CrossFit safe for the joints?

Created in 2001, CrossFit, the fitness craze that has swept the nation, brings a new style to the exercise world. CrossFit is comprised of an incredibly wide variety of “functional movements” often combined into a routine. These functional movements can span anywhere from extreme bursts of weightlifting, calisthenics, and heavy movement from running or rowing. The burst-like nature of CrossFit, and the unpredictable nature underlying it, brings about a very important question. Is CrossFit safe for the joints?

Though exercises themselves can be adjusted for safety, principles at the very core of CrossFit work-outs lead to relatively high risks for injury. These injuries are often focused around the joints. This increased risk stems from the base idea of CrossFit that you push forward until your new task is done. Often, CrossFit at its core asks and challenges its participants to push to their limits, surpass them, and keep pushing. This seems great in theory, a workout that motivates you to go above and beyond the concept of what you think you are capable of doing. This theory is significantly challenged by the fact that the body can only do so much so often before it begins to show stress. For CrossFit, in bursts of quick movement with risky goals and a significant focus on an almost improvisational nature, this risk heavily focuses in a dangerous area, the joints.

When the joints receive such a consistent and intense beating, not only could there be temporary and extreme pain, but dangerous long-term issues. In fact, repeated damage to joints from pushing your limits could even lead to the onset of arthritis.  

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