By Reuben Pearlman
Longevity literally means a long life. As it applies to fitness and CrossFit specifically, we use it to describe performance of functional fitness over a long period of time. At CrossFit 718, focusing on longevity is about extending your life through being healthy and increasing the quality of those years through fitness.
For many people, fitness is about reaching an immediate or short-term goal. Whether it’s losing weight or hitting a PR, a short-term goal can be great. But what happens after you reach that short-term goal? Or, what happens if you never reach that goal? By focusing on longevity as a long-term goal, with short-term goals as mile markers on the journey, the athlete can stay focused and dedicated to fitness as a lifestyle.
One of the keys to a longevity-focused approach is to pace your progress and avoid fast tracking your fitness goals. As discussed in previous articles, injuries and plateaus are the enemy. If your only goal entering the gym is to hit a PR every time you perform a particular exercise, you are setting yourself up for disappointment or injury. Becoming discouraged and getting sidelined by injury are two of the main reasons people stop exercising and lose track of that big-picture goal of longevity. Additionally, spending too many hours performing intense activity can be equally detrimental. As discussed in previous articles, overtraining can lead to injury or exhaustion. The law of diminishing returns illustrates this principle.
The goal of longevity has many familiar components: a healthy lifestyle, adequate sleep, proper hydration, and good nutrition. These things are governed by natural rhythms that dictate most of our lives. In addition to our sleep patterns and diet, our fitness needs a rhythm too. You all know someone who performs better in the evening than the morning, or someone who needs only six hours of sleep while you need eight. Developing a rhythm for the gym is the same.
Obviously we all have busy lives, but developing a rhythm or schedule can greatly increase your chances of achieving longevity. Think about the training schedules of the best athletes you know. How many “Athlete of the Month” articles have you read where the athlete trains on a schedule? Most of them will WOD on specific days each week, interspersing adequate rest in between. And many of them talk about rest and recovery time, or how focusing on that component of their fitness greatly affects their WODs.
Looking for a way to get started on your longevity journey? Come in early for your next WOD or stay after to stretch and foam roll. Also, think about adding or swapping out a WOD for our mobility class with Chelsea, which is held every Sunday at 11 AM.