Age isn’t as much of a physical limitation as it was, say, even 10 years ago. We’re now seeing athletes doing the unthinkable at an older age in many sports whether these competitors are part of a team or individual.
And due to this reason alone, it’s also more important than ever for athletes past 40 to push their limits. Well, today we’re going to talk about reasons to CrossFit 40 because believe us, the benefits are more than worth the effort.
Heart Health and Chronic Disease in General
This is one of the more obvious benefits of engaging in CrossFit past 40. The heart is a muscle just like the more aesthetic muscles. So, you need to engage in training that is going to strengthen this vital organ so that we can live healthier and longer.
“Aerobic exercise and resistance training are the most important for heart health,” explained Johns Hopkins exercise physiologist Kerry J. Stewart, Ed.D.
After about 25-30, the average man sees in decline in maximum attainable heart rate by about one beat per minute, and every year so forth, while the heart’s ability to pump blood decreases 5-10% per decade. (1)
The blood vessels begin to stiffen and blood pressure starts to more consistently increase.
But to counteract these issues from increasing to a dangerous extent, CrossFit training can get the blood flowing and increase circulation, helping to improve cardiac output; which reduces these risk factors. (2)
And by upping your exercise intensity in a fast-paced manner which is exactly what CrossFit involves, you’ll also stave off other forms of chronic illness like type 2 diabetes and those related to cognitive health/stress, etc which become more of an issue along the aging timeline.
Muscle Mass and Strength
Muscle is a precious thing… and no one wants to lose it. But, that is just what begins to gradually happen as we age whether that be due to lower testosterone levels or just stepping back from training altogether. And losing strength at this point is not an option either.
One 2004 study showed a significant long-term improvement in testosterone and human growth hormone production in older men who resistance trained when compared to men who were sedentary. This also had a positive effect on brain function as well. (3)
And if you didn’t know before well now you know that obesity decreases testosterone levels. Well, another study which had 41 overweight and obese men engage in a lifestyle modification regime for 12 weeks, found that increased physical activity greatly increased testosterone serum levels. (4)
Well, this can directly improve factors related to low sex drive as well since testosterone plays a big role in sexual desire and function in both men and women.
But resistance training is also the first-line treatment for muscle wasting and weakness (sarcopenia and dynapenia respectively), therefore it’s highly advised to continue after 40 as a measure of prevention during the transitional years into older age. (5)
But maintaining and building muscle mass while increasing strength also improves your overall appearance while also playing a big role in increasing confidence which for this reason alone is why CrossFit over 40 is a good idea for the mental aspect.
Also, there are the aesthetic benefits that training has on the body, and then there are the functional reasons why you should continue to CrossFit as there’s a big carryover to daily physical activities which require full-body coordination, and strength.
Stronger muscles prevent injuries, improve posture, increases mobility, and allow you to train longer due to having more stamina.
But whether doing CrossFit or any other form of resistance training, well… you cannot afford to skip out.
Aerobic capacity (peak oxygen consumption/VO2 max) is a known predictor of cardiovascular prognosis and even mortality. (6)
And regularly engaging in a rigorous form of activity like CrossFit is a sure way to improve VO2 max, while the excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) results in the continued burning of calories even more so than cardio alone.
Regular exercise 5 days a week for at least 20-30 minutes can dramatically increase your aerobic capacity which will undoubtedly improve your overall health and stave off disease of all sort. Still push it past your 40’s.
The above-mentioned reasons are why it’s important to CrossFit over 40, not only for the physical aspect but also for the cognitive benefits that it offers which is crucial, especially seeing as how aging can bring on a whole lot of health concerns.