Why Executives are Asking our Opinion on Cross-Fit in their 50’s and 60’s

Why Executives are Asking our Opinion on Cross-Fit in their 50’s and 60’s

Popular author of 4-Hour Work Week Tim Ferris just posted a podcast with Cross-Fit expert Kelly Starrett.

In the last few years in our Hoag Executive Health program, we have been fielding patient questions about starting an exercise program like Cross-Fit. Or, if it wasn’t Cross-Fit, it was martial arts, or triathlons, or long-distance sailing. We are very proud to have an active patient population supported by the beautiful climate of Southern California.  On a personal note, I grew up in Nebraska, where my grandparents crossed exercise off of their list of things to do when they hit their 30s. They thought that exercise was a bit childish and going to the gym was a time luxury. The end result, though, is a retirement spent wishing they could do something as simple as walking a block around the neighborhood.

Today, more and more of us recognize the value of consistent exercise — for our physical, mental and emotional health. And we are finding many of our executives want more: to push themselves harder. Intense exercise is captivating because of either the degree of stress relief, the feeling of empowerment and capability, the team relationships, the complexity, and/or the body transformation. Bottom line: intense exercise programs aren’t boring. However, the challenge is that when starting intense exercise, either for the first time or returning, you are entering with an engaged brain but potentially a different body. Memory exists in our nervous system and nowhere else. Athletic skill and technique may return or develop rapidly. Mobility in our shoulders and hips and strength in our soft tissues, though, these build at a dramatically slower rate.  You may know how to bend over and throw the barbell overhead, but your hips and spine may not like it. The higher the intensity of exercise, the higher the risk and severity of injury.


Is your interest piqued in a fitness challenge? Start with the basics. Have your baseline tested by an expert to understand how to build toward your desired level of participation without injury. Above all else, be patient.


Athletic Trainer Chad Eichten “Most executives sit for prolonged periods each day. Sitting weakens core musculature by decreasing circulation and nerve conduction to the glutes and shortening hip flexors and hamstring tendons. If you’ve done this for decades without much activity, asking your body to perform dynamic movements is asking a lot. Your body needs ample time to create efficient movement patterns.”