CrossFit, to the uninitiated, can come across as intimidating, technical, advanced, and straight-up hard. In reality, CrossFit is made up of functional movements or things that we do every day. There are many characteristics of functional movements that CrossFit athletes and coaches can use to determine functional from non-functional movements. For example, we say functional movements are “natural,” meaning they are movement patterns that we perform in our day-to-day lives. These movements are found everywhere in human behavior and arise spontaneously as a response to life. For example, getting up out of a chair requires an air squat; picking up groceries or a child from the floor, a deadlift; getting a bag of dog food into your truck bed, a clean; placing items on a high shelf, a shoulder press; even getting out of a pool, a muscle up.
We also deem functional movements as “essential” movements. These are the movements that our life demands, whether we train them or not, they are essential to independent living. When we lose the ability to perform functional movements, we also lose the ability to live independently. By training these movements, we are keeping ourselves functional for the long run and hopefully, staying out of the nursing home for as long as possible.
Now, CrossFit takes these movements and adds load and speed to create intensity. By adding weight and doing “strength training” we can protect our joints from injury. Building muscle also contributes to better balance and may reduce your risk of falls which will help you maintain independence as you age. If we don’t continue to work our muscles, they begin to atrophy with time. Maintaining strength and muscle mass is one of the most important things to do as we get older. Also, the speed and monostructual aspects of crossfit help us maintain our cardiovascular health and body weight. This can help prevent heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and even osteoporosis.
Does this mean we are saying that Aerial Athletics classes are for our parents or even grandparents? The answer is YES! CrossFit is meant for everyone; all ages, shapes, and athletic abilities. We are able to scale workouts so that they are appropriate for anyone to perform safely. Does this mean we are going to have your grandma doing handstands, no (well maybe) but she can definitely hold a 5 or 10-pound plate overhead. Is she going to be front squatting a heavy barbell, probably not, but she can do air squats to a 20” box. Our coaches have the knowledge and ability to make movements work for everyone.
So, for the next bring a friend day, invite a loved one or a neighbor. We would love to help them maintain their health and independence. Educate them that CrossFit is for everyone. And if you have a friend or family member that is interested in learning more about the gym, have them reach out to a coach, we’d love to answer or address any questions or concerns.