ercise isn’t just a pastime to help you lose weight. Exercise does just as much, if not more, good to you brain as it does your body. It’s common sense that after a workout, you feel exhausted and drained. These feelings create positive and long-lasting effects on both your body and your mind because you feel happier, relaxed and less stressed after a workout while reaping the benefits of a healthier body.
The first things that often come to mind when someone says ‘CrossFit’ are intense, high-energy workouts made for bodybuilders, police officers and firefighters. However, these workouts can be for anyone regardless of age, body type or weight and can improve mental as well as physical health.
While CrossFit is designed to have high intensity strength and conditioning workouts, it’s also designed to create a diverse and uncommon workout routine for those participating. One of the many interesting factors that separates CrossFit from ordinary gyms is the group aspect of it. Group work is common in CrossFit gyms, so all members work together and motivate one another to complete the task at hand, building their confidence builds as well as their muscles.
“Exercise is a coping mechanism for those struggling with mental health [problems] or it can also be a preventative measure to prevent mental health problems from developing,” Michele Martin director of the University Wellness Center, said. “Endorphins are released when you exercise. [They] are the ‘feel-good cells’ that help you to see things a little more positively, or they help you to see a new perspective. They help you to feel good and they happen to last even after the exercise is over.”
If normal exercise routines alone boost a person’s mood or mental health balance, then surely CrossFit must really do a number on improving mental health problems.
“This will give them confidence,” Ryan Brack, owner and coach at CrossFit Boro, said. “This will make [people] less depressed because of the hormones released during the workout.”
Brack admitted that while they don’t necessarily disclose their reasoning for participating in CrossFit, his clients do leave feeling worn out and exhausted. “You can’t really think about [anything] because during your workout. You’re worried about your breathing and finishing the task at hand more than all of your problems.”
Why don’t more people participate then? CrossFit is a popular workout regimen for those in high physically-demanding jobs, such as police, firefighters and members of the armed forces. Most people don’t have the confidence to start a CrossFit workout routine, and sometimes it’s those people who may need it the most.
“CrossFit is definitely more of a stress-reliever,” Hunter Waters, junior criminal justice studies major and five-year CrossFit participant, said. “I’ve definitely been happier [since starting].”
Waters explained that a CrossFit workout is much more demanding but also more rewarding than average workouts.
“People aren’t being challenged by normal workouts at the RAC… [With CrossFit] you’re always on the go, it’s like a circuit workout. Once you get done doing one thing you do another thing even while you’re still tired,” Waters said. “It’s all about pushing your body and seeing what you can handle, then pushing those limits after you’ve reached them. I think that’s where most of the thrill comes from, just seeing what your body can do.”
College alone is a huge stress for many students. Homework, exams and everything in between can take a huge toll on a person’s mental health. Exercising releases endorphins in the body and brain. These endorphins relieve feelings of anxiety and depression while also improving one’s confidence and helping them to sleep better at night, something every college student wants more of.
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