Last night I strained my calf and hamstring warming up for sprints in the park.  I didn’t even get to the workout.  It’s nothing serious, I don’t need crutches, but I am limping about today a bit tender.  Running in the park isn’t really what folks are thinking about when they tell you doing CrossFit can cause injury.  But it can, and it does.  Know why?  Because engaging in any physical activity increases your likelihood of injury!

Here are things you don’t hear about:

Spin classes can cause Rhabdo
Yoga causes a whole host of joint injuries
If you think those are bad, people actually die on treadmills!
What else can kill you?  Unsupervised weight lifting at home!
Runners when they’re not getting hit by cars or falling and breaking bones suffer from a laundry list of injuries including plantar fasciitis, patella tendonitis, shin splints, Achilles tendonitis, hamstring tendinopathy, stress fractures, runner’s knee and more.
Tennis has its own list of injuries.
Road and mountain bikers and downhill skiers face not only grievous injury but death with every outing.

If you had hundreds of people dying doing CrossFit every year, could you imagine the uproar?  Yet no one blinks an eye if you say you’re going out biking and personal trainers, who regularly put clients on treadmills, try to sell their services as “safer” than CrossFit.  Are they really working with the facts or do they have an agenda?  Does CrossFit kill or maim participants?  Is CrossFit really more risky than other fitness regimes?

As a CrossFit coach, looking at the list of hazards above, I do not believe you should be deterred from participating in any of the listed activities.  Take precautions of course, but the truth is, even with 800+ road cyclists killed in a year in the US, there are nearly 80,000 diabetes deaths per year so you’re 100 times more likely to die of diabetes than biking and with more than 800,000 Americans dying of Cardio Vascular disease each year, you are a thousand times more likely to die of heart disease.

Living an active lifestyle does pose risks but they are far fewer and less severe than the risks of a sedentary lifestyle.  A fraction of people engaging in fitness activities die each year while 70% of the population is killed by chronic, preventable, lifestyle-related diseases.

Personally, I’d rather spend a week on crutches than push around a dialysis cart the rest of my life.  I’d rather undergo a shoulder operation than bypass surgery.  I’d rather spend my money on the occasional trip to the physiotherapist than on metformin or lipitor.

So next time someone discourages you from participating in physical activity because it is “dangerous”, take a moment to ask yourself if it really is.  Dangerous compared to what?  And, do they really have your best interests at heart?