Given the increasing popularity of CrossFit, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), and Spin Classes, we’d like to take a moment to reflect on the pros and cons of each from an orthopedic perspective.
The musculoskeletal system is both dynamic and biologically active, responding to external loads by building bone density and increasing the size of muscle fibers. Workouts that employ high impact maneuvers performed in rapid sequence (CrossFit and HIIT) are great for building bone density and may reduce the risk of osteoporosis related problems. However, these benefits come at the cost of increased wear and tear on the joints of the body through excessive loading of the surface cartilage in the ankles, knees, and hips.
On the other hand, low impact exercises (Spin) promote joint health by facilitating nutrient uptake in surface cartilage and more even stress distribution. These exercises, however, tend not to build much bone density owing to the low-impact nature of the activities. As such, they do not offer much protection against the age related decrease in bone density, which can lead to osteoporotic fractures.
The best approach, then, is an integrated routine that incorporates both low- and high-impact activities in a balance that can be fine-tuned to your age, body type, and specific goals. A consultation with a fitness specialist can go a long way in helping you design the perfect routine. With discipline and perseverance, you will be on your way to building a healthier body that will serve you well for years to come!
Dr. Tigran Garabekyan is a board certified orthopedic surgeon specializing in hip preservation. To learn more about Southern California Hip Institute or to schedule a consultation, click here to contact us. Serving patients in Encino, Sherman Oaks, Van Nuys, North Hollywood, Burbank, Glendale, West Hollywood, Century City, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Los Angeles, and other neighboring cities in the greater Los Angeles area.