The real value of CrossFit’s new definition of health is that it gives us a meaningful way to assess and measure fitness, heath, and even quality of life throughout the years. Fitness, in the most broad terms, is the ability to perform the tasks of life. The tasks of life are always some form of moving your own body and moving external loads. These tasks can be measured using the fundamental units of force, time, and distance.
More precisely, having elevated levels of work capacity across broad time and modal domains is fitness. At any and every stage of life, being sick limits your work capacity. In contrast, having this broad work capacity requires you to be healthy.
How does this relate to the traditional markers of health, such as blood pressure, triglycerides, and cholesterol? Well, they are correlates, just as VO2 Max is a correlate to fitness. Would you give up mobility and work capacity in order to lower your blood pressure? Of course not! You want to lower your blood pressure in order to maintain your mobility and physical freedom.
Is CrossFit’s definition of health designed to support the results of CrossFit’s workouts? No. The definition of health is an independent marker that allows us to measure the efficacy of all fitness and wellness programs, not just CrossFit. We don’t have the data yet (no one does), but finally we have the metric that is both relevant and meaningful.
In this video from CrossFit By Overload, Tony Budding discusses these and other related topics with Coach Greg Glassman. The footage was recorded on Saturday, August 8th, 2009 in Tustin, CA.
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