Participating in CrossFit requires some caution

Participating in CrossFit requires some caution

A growing number of Americans are taking an active interest in improving their physical health. You may be eating healthy foods, giving up smoking and other negative habits, and starting dietary supplement regimens, such as ultra pure omega-3 supplements. One more essential component of living a healthier life is an exercise routine.

If you're considering becoming more physically active, you may be looking for something that feels time-efficient, delivering more bang for your buck. People looking for a routine with these traits often turn to CrossFit, a gym-based exercise program that entails warm-ups, technique drills, strength training and alternating workouts of the day, which may include squats, pull-ups and other high-intensity activities.

However, some people may be afraid of CrossFit because of horror stories of injuries. One recent example is that of Kevin Ogar, a CrossFit trainer who severed his spine while lifting weights and became paralyzed from the waist down, as reported by Medill Reports at Northwestern University.

So the question becomes: Just how safe, or unsafe, is CrossFit?

Know your limits
Researchers from the All Wales Trauma and Orthopedic Training Program decided to investigate the risks of CrossFit further by distributing questionnaires through CrossFit Internet forums. Out of 132 responses, 73 percent noted a history of injuries in the exercise program. Many of these incidents involved the spine and shoulders, but only 7 percent were serious enough to require surgery.

When compared to other training programs, CrossFit may not seem too outstanding when it comes to injuries. According to the news source, a study from the British Journal of Sports Medicine calculated in the injury rate from CrossFit to be 3.1 for every 1,000 hours, compared to 30.1 for preparation of 4-mile running events.

Ultimately, the risk of getting hurt from CrossFit may depend on how people test their limits.

"[The most common cause of injury is people] pushing themselves too hard too soon; lifting too much weight, doing too many reps, working out at too high of an intensity and/or working out for a very long duration," Jessica Matthews, assistant professor of exercise science at Miramar Collage in San Diego and a certified personal trainer, told Medill Reports.

When it comes to aerobic exercise, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention emphasizes getting 150-minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week. However, this does not have to come in large blocks of time, and can even be broken up into intervals as short as 10 minutes.