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Should you try CrossFit?

Should you try CrossFit?

Q. What is this CrossFit exercise craze I’ve been hearing about, and is it safe for a non-hardbody like me?

A. CrossFit is a high-intensity workout that emphasizes heavy lifting, speed, and body resistance. If it hasn’t hit your area yet, it may soon: As of October 2013, there were more than 5,500 affiliated CrossFit gyms worldwide, according to CrossFit.com, and the numbers are continuing to rise. The program is the same regardless of age or fitness level, but the intensity—how much weight you lift, for example—varies by ability. While it might be tempting to jump right in, our experts say that older or less-fit people should start with a basic regimen of machines and weights to build strength and endurance before trying it. That’s in part because many CrossFit exercises, such as kettlebell swings, can cause muscle strains or joint sprains if they’re done incorrectly.

Looking to get fit at home? See the results of our latest tests of treadmills, elliptical exercisers, and exercise bikes—plus newfangled devices for tracking your progress.

This article appeared in the November 2013 issue of Consumer Reports on Health.

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