Intense Training = Healthier in Life

I found this article discussing a study on later life health status of collegiate athletes versus recreational athletes published the American Journal of Sports Medicine interesting and wanted to share it with IH’s community.  I have worked with many past competitive athletes and ex-military who are now suffering from and managing degenerative joint disease (arthritis). I have noted a commonality with these clients and their perception of lower impact, less intense exercise as not being valuable, enjoyable or beneficial. It often takes a lot of convincing to get these clients to realize there can be benefit in not pushing their bodies to the maximum every time they exercise.

I also see the same mentality being popular in the current fitness trends of BootCamps, Crossfit and other high intensity training programs. The collegiate and professional sports training and the military based fitness training methods have similar mentalities and methods.  Both are high intensity, competitive, performance based, and use a community, tribe, or team environment to motivate and maintain participants. They all push individuals to the limits of their physical capabilities on a regular or daily basis.

The short term results and benefits from this kind of training can be tremendous, and the success attributed to it is the stuff championships are made from.  As a physical therapist that is dedicated to body maintenance throughout a lifetime, I have to wonder about the long term effects of this kind of training on the physical and emotional states of these athletes and participants. I am so happy to see this engagement of the research community in this exploration of the life-long effects of this extreme training.   In particular, I am interested in extrapolating this research to the fitness industry trends of high intensity, extreme training.

I have to wonder what the healthcare costs will be 20-30 years from now to manage the degenerative joint disease that is being initiated today with these high intensity, high impact, and extreme training methods. Plastic surgeons may be needed.

My firm belief that for the average human moderate, regular, well-rounded fitness routines that incorporate mind-body movement are the best for life long health, fitness and lifestyle are only strengthened when reading this article and study.