While I would never do one of these myself (note the comment below about people with pre-existing conditions like knee problems), I’ve had friends do these challenges and wondered what exactly went into them?
After researching their safety (which is debatable, although I think the bigger races like Tough Mudder are safer than some of the copycats) and talking to a healthcare expert about why one should or should not do them, I’ll admit I’m intrigued and a little jealous of those that have completed one. Not necessarily enough to sign up to voluntarily crawl through an electrically charged field, but props to those who do.
Am I fit enough for an obstacle course race?
with advice from
Joy Winchester, HFS
With long-distance races proliferating across the country, many people have been looking for a new fitness challenge. Enter obstacle course races like the Tough Mudder, where competitors complete military-like challenges “designed to test physical strength and mental grit.” But are they safe?
There are a variety of benefits to these challenges. “You’re not just walking or running, but also using strength, flexibility, and balance,” says Joy Winchester, a fitness instructor at the Take Charge Fitness Program, a wellness facility run by Clinton Physical Therapy Center (a Physiquality network member in Clinton, Tennessee).
Another unique aspect of these races is the teamwork emphasized by these challenges; at the Tough Mudder, for example, the race emphasizes camaraderie over individual finish times. This environment encourages fun, notes Joy, which makes it feel less like a workout. (Plus, as we’ve pointed out in the past, you’re more likely to finish a race if you’re not alone.) As the New York Times described it a few years ago, “The idea of Tough Mudder is not really to win, but to finish. And to have a story to tell.”