There’s one thing that binds every human on earth together. One common trait we all share, regardless of anything else…we’re all getting older. The aging process will enter some of our lives sooner and more suddenly than others, but we will all have to deal with it at some point. It’s inevitable.
But should we lay down and give up just because aging is inevitable? No! In fact, this is the very reason why we CrossFit–to prepare our bodies to weather the aging process and to be ready to fight like hell when it comes for us.
One of the most common physiological effects of aging is a decrease in bone mineral density. When bones become thinner than normal, it’s known as osteopenia. Osteopenia, in turn, puts you at risk for osteoporosis, a disease which can lead to bones becoming weak and brittle and much more likely to fracture. Osteoporosis affects approximately 25% of the female and 5% of the male population over 65 years of age.
The good news is, research tells us that resistance training (lifting weights) can combat osteoporosis (see Effects of Resistance Exercise on Bone Health), and for those with the disease, it can help slow progression and even recover some lost mineralization.
So if you’re regularly doing CrossFit and are eating a balanced diet full of adequate protein, vitamins and minerals, you’re already doing the best things you can to guard against loss of bone density and ultimately the onset of osteoporosis.
Although age-related changes will happen to all of us, not everyone is affected to the same degree. Some people remain fit, healthy and functional well into old age, whereas others descend into decrepitude during middle age. What is clear is that we share a common goal, which is to defy the aging process and push the changes associated with aging as far as possible into the future.
We can either choose to embrace fitness as a lifelong pursuit now, or be forced to battle sickness a lot sooner than we’d like. This is the essence of why it’s important that we make fitness a lifelong integral part of our lives, not just as a hobby we pursue for a few months or even a few years. This is why we CrossFit.