Is CrossFit Healthy? FAQ About CrossFit

Can CrossFit cause miscarriages? Can you do CrossFit while you’re pregnant?

When considering health and fitness while pregnant, BirthFit wants you to remember that “giving birth may be the most athletic event of your life.” The idea that expecting and postpartum moms should distance themselves from an athletic lifestyle has never been farther from the truth. In fact, these are the times women should be much more in-touch with their fitness, nutrition, chiropractic health, and mindset.

In fact, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists confirm physical activity does not increase your risk of miscarriage, low birth weight, or early delivery. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention agrees, stating pregnant women should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week.

Additional Reading: CNN | BoxLife | BirthFit | ACOG | CDC

Can CrossFit cause infertility?

Not for the moderate participant. While a studied showed those peaking in performance at competitive levels may see decreased fertility, it did not show the same trend for the everyday athlete. This is according to research in the 1980s from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, which found those potential mothers who both trained almost every day and trained until they were completely exhausted experienced a higher risk of infertility.

Sigridur Lara Gudmundsdottir, a PhD candidate in NTNU’s Human Movement Science program also says women who want to become pregnant shouldn’t give up all physical activity.

“We believe it is likely that physical activity at a very high or very low level has a negative effect ton fertility, while moderate activity is beneficial.”

An additional study in Obstetrics & Gynecology concluded that women who exercised 30 minutes or more daily had a reduced risk of infertility due to ovulation disorders.

Additional Reading: NTNU | Fitness Magazine | NCBI

Can CrossFit cause a stroke?

Let’s not mince words. If you have a genetic predisposition or are in poor cardiovascular health, anything can cause a stroke. If that’s the case, no specific physical exertion puts you at any more risk than others.

The cure for being at-risk of stroke? Good diet and moderate exercise. In fact, one of the best ways to recover from a stroke and to regain post-event coordination is to participate in physical activity. In 2016, the Cochrane Stroke Group released a study finding cardiorespiratory fitness training can improve exercise ability and walking after a stroke, also stating that stroke recovery is an under-studied avenue and further evidence is likely out there.

Why does exercise improve stroke recovery? It controls cholesterol levels by keeping bad cholesterol levels lower and good cholesterol levels higher than those who don’t exercise. It also fights high blood pressure, controls weight, and fights depression – all things that have been linked to higher risk of stroke.

Additional Reading: Heart Scans | Stroke Exercises | Cochrane | Everyday Health |

Can CrossFit cause carpal tunnel?

Actually, CrossFit fights the onset of carpal tunnel. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, the compression of the median nerve at the base of the hand, rarely develops in conditions of normal blood circulation. Daily exercise stimulates flexible veins and arteries, which keep good circulation in body extremities like the hand and wrist areas.

If you’re suffering from carpal tunnel, here’s a great resource for corrective exercise.

Additional Reading: MyCarpalTunnel | Wrist Mobility | Lifting With Carpal Tunnel

Can CrossFit delay your period?

Women’s health specialist Stephanie Long, MD, a family medicine physician at OneMedical and one of the district medical directors at the SoMa Clinic in San Francisco, does confirm exercise is often a reason for a missed period. The brain sends signals to the ovaries and uterus saying it’s time to have a period, and a lot of exercise could shut off these signals. Long explained that when someone works out a lot, “Your body could get a signal saying it’s not time to have your period.” If your cycle seems out of whack, talk to your doctor.

There are some great resources out there for CrossFit and your cycle. In fact, BoxRox built a great guide for menstrual cycle, hormonal changes, and CrossFit here.

Additional Reading: BoxRox Guide | 10 Tips for the Female CrossFitter | PopSugar

Can CrossFit cause heart problems?

No matter how fit you are, genetics play a tremendous role in your risk of heart attack. Just ask celebrity trainer and Biggest Loser start Bob Harper.

A study conducted by the Physiological Society suggest CrossFit workout programs can lead to decreased risk of heart disease and improved control of blood sugar levels, even for people with type two diabetes.

According to St. Joseph Health, “Grueling physical activity that pushes the muscles and lungs to their limit also makes intense demands on the heart, and making the heart work hard is the key to a whole range of associated health benefits. This includes everything from decreased depression to living a longer life.”

Additional Reading: Bob Harper in Shape Magazine | CrossFit and Diabetes | St. Joseph Health

Can you do CrossFit when you’re sick?

The best advice medical experts can give you is to use fever as an indicator on whether you should or shouldn’t work out. This is based on the danger of raising your internal body temperature if you already have a fever.

Some experts recommend an “above the neck” policy, saying when symptoms exist from the neck up (ear, nose, throat, sinus), you are much more likely to have a positive immune response than if the symptoms are in your lungs or stomach.

From a hygiene perspective, you should also be courteous and make a determination on whether you should be working out in a shared space while you’re contagious.

Additional Reading: WebMD | HealthLine

Can you do CrossFit when you’re obese?

When you’re obese is EXACTLY when you should start CrossFit. The sport gets a bad rap for the competition side of the industry, but the focus of gyms and CrossFit affiliates it to get the unhealthy into a state of fitness. This means they can accommodate you if you’re starting at square one.

Stories of 100-plus-pound weight loss and reversal of type-2 diabetes is a chronic recurrence in the CrossFit gyms. Just check out Travis Brumbaugh, John David Glaude, Mark Bieman, Mike Richards, Mohammed Faisal Al Qassemi, Liz Cromwell, Kai Rainey, Eric Conklin, and Rainier Ward.

The right gym and the right coaches will help you do the workouts you can do and ensure you’re comfortable and confident in your movements.

Additional Reading: For Big and Heavy People | Surviving 6 Weeks of CrossFit as a Plus-Size Person

Is CrossFit unhealthy or dangerous?

For all of the evidence above, the 40 articles and scientific studies, CrossFit is decidedly not unhealthy or dangerous. In fact, the focus of CrossFit Health is to provide a pathway to a cure for chronic illness like stroke, heart disease, and Type 2 Diabetes.

And, no. CrossFit can’t kill you.

By Ben Garves

Ben Garves is a digital product expert, author, entertainer, and activist. His portfolio of thought leadership in digital marketing and web experiences has included major clients like Microsoft, Google, Twitter, eBay, and Facebook. He’s also a freelance health and fitness journalist with over 400 stories written since 2018, a podcaster with 200 episodes to his name, and runs a YouTube channel with over 100 fitness and activism-oriented videos and live streams. Ben has founded the Fitness is for Everyone™ initiative to raise awareness about social injustice in both racial inequality and socioeconomic disparity in access to quality fitness and nutrition options around the globe.


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