Every few years, a new system of exercise is developed and becomes popular. These days the latest fitness option is known as CrossFit, and although it’s been around since 2000, it has become exponentially popular in the last four or five years. Today, there are more than 6,000 gyms with CrossFit programs, and it is still one of the fastest growing exercise programs in the world.

There are several reasons why CrossFit has become so popular in the last decade. One reason is that the CrossFit system is highly intense, but relatively short in length. So you get a great workout in about 30-60 minutes or perhaps even less. This makes it very simple to fit a good and intense workout into your schedule several times during the week. Let’s face it, these days finding time for fitness can be difficult, and CrossFit aims to make the process easier. In addition, CrossFit stresses total body workouts and includes not only aerobic exercises but also body weight techniques and weight lifting.

Another reason why CrossFit is popular is that workouts are varied, which tends to increase interest in the workout program. The higher your interest, the better chance you have of sticking to a program and seeing the maximum results. The goal of CrossFit is to improve fitness in 10 key areas. These areas include improving cardiovascular and respiratory fitness, as well as increase stamina, strength, flexibility, power, coordination, agility, balance and accuracy. In order to accomplish these tasks, a wide variety of exercises are taught and incorporated into each day’s CrossFit routine.

To achieve optimum fitness in these specific categories, your daily workout will include the CrossFit combination of weight training, body weight movements and cardio activities. The cardio portion gets your heart pumping with intense exercises such as rowing and jumping rope. Body weight activities use the body as a weight or as resistance and will include everything from sit-ups to box jumps to lunges and rope climbs. Weight training is just as diverse, using tires, kettlebells and traditional barbells in many ways.

There are even CrossFit games, competitions that have been held beginning in 2007. During the first year, winners were awarded just $500, but now the prize money has increased to $275,000, so this is definitely a serious contest. There are competitions for both men and women and in several different age categories. There is a general category for individuals younger than 40 and Masters categories for those older than 40 all the way up to 60 and older.

It’s always a good idea to spend some time talking to your doctor prior to beginning any new fitness program. CrossFit is effective, but demanding, so make sure your body is up to the challenge before you sign up for any program.

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