Thursday September 15, 2011
Nearly everyday I have someone contact me interested in CrossFit training. This is a good thing, in fact it's a great thing. Obviously finding out the cost of CrossFit is important, however, when it is the FIRST question being asked about the program it can be frustrating. Now, I'm not trying to find fault with this question or trying to invalidate it by any means. I get that people are on tight budgets. But, my frustration exists because I understand the price of NOT doing CrossFit. You can actually replace the word CrossFit in that last sentence with any health promoting habit. The following paragraphs will describe the health consequences for the majority of people out there doing little to nothing for their health. The excuse may be 'too old', 'too overweight', 'no money' or anything else people come up with when losing control of their health. CrossFit is the light at the end of the tunnel, it is the no excuse program that can be done by anyone.
What is restful sleep, plenty of daily energy, less stress, better posture, stronger bones, more confidence, pain-free movement, and no physical limitations worth to you? Would you give up your cable package? What about your expensive cell phone/bill? The point is I believe health and fitness should be a high priority. I also believe CrossFit and good nutrition are the best ways to be the healthiest YOU possible. So let's look at the cost of not making health a priority.
In this country, 34% of adults are obese. This number has been steadily rising since the 1980's and does not appear to be going down (childhood obesity is now being considered an epidemic). An obese individual spends $1500 more per year than an average weight person. If that person remains obese for 40 years, they will end up spening $60,000 more on medical costs than a normal weight individual in that time. In 2008, the obesity epidemic cost $147 billion in medical care. One thing we know about America is that we are fat and we spend A LOT of money dealing with this fact. We also know that physical activity and a proper diet greatly reduces the chance of being overweight.
Type 2 Diabetes is another "disease" that is reaching epidemic proportions in this country. The reason disease is in quotations is because it is completely preventable and reverseable. Over a thrid of the adults in the U.S. either have full blown diabetes or are pre-diabetic. According to the American Diabetes Association, in 2007 the cost of diabetes was $174 billion dollars. The diabetic pays 2.3 times more on medical expenses than the non-diabetic. Resistance training and a diet of lower glycemic foods will prevent Type 2 Diabetes.
What about the costs later on in life, when we get "old"? Getting old does not have to be this horrible, painful, medicine-taking misfortune that it is sometimes portrayed as. In fact, many healthy elderly people say these years are the best yet. Those who neglect their health with no physical activity, a poor diet, and other poor lifestyle choices (smoking, drinking, etc) will ultimately pay the price both financially and physically. The physical cost is the Big 3: cancer, heart disease, stroke. These are the top 3 causes of death in the U.S. and all 3 are preventable. Obesity and diabetes can cause any combination of the big 3. Financially, the last years of life are very expensive. In fact, the last 6 months of life can cost an average of $25,000! In the state of New York it costs $35,000 to live your last 6 months of life. That's $5,800 a month just on medical treatment.
The costs of choosing not to make health a priority are devastating, both physically and financially. Medical bills, tests, surgeries, drugs, specialists, etc are outrageously expensive. So, yes I do cringe when the first question I get asked about CrossFit is "What's the price" when the big picture is so clear that the price not to do CrossFit, or yoga, or p90x or whatever else leads to better health is so substantially costly.
Okay, so as you're reading this you're thinking, "Well I already CrossFit and have a pretty good diet, what's all this have to do with me." I can almost guarantee you know someone who could benefit from CrossFit training. Someone who has one of the above-mentioned issues and whose life could be made better by making a choice towards health. As a community, we need to watch out for one another and encourage each other when needed. I hope this movement continues with great speed and we can start putting a dent in the grim health statistics that face us as a country.