Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Emotional Healing Benefits of Crossfit



Did you ever just have one of those days where in your head your thinking you could take out a small village with the rage pent up inside you? Don't lie, you have.  Sometimes something gets so overwhelming that you think you might break, don't worry you won't--it would take a lot of force to break down the entire human body.  Today, I wanted to talk about the emotional healing benefits of not only crossfit but exercise in general.

I've been through a lot this year.  Emotionally and physically. You may be happy to know my doctor thinks I can live the rest of my life with the heart I have.  It hasn't gotten me too far anyway, being I am single and all.  Do you think they will still let me trade it in for a new one?  Doubtful.  I'll look into it though.  So, with my old heart and my new outlook on life I realized this:  Wod's make me happy, people can be stupid (sorry), and some people will never change.  One thing you can change however is your mood--by working out.

Did you know..."Researchers from the Penn State University found in their study that the more physically active people reported greater general feelings of excitement and enthusiasm, compared with the less physically active people."  (Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/09/exercise-happy-enthusiasm-excitement_n_1263345.html).   Wow, who knew.  One wod a day will keep the moodiness away.

When you exercise As your heart begins to pound, levels of the feel-good neurochemicals serotonin, dopamine and nor-epinephrine rise in your body. So does brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a substance that may protect your brain from emotional disorders and repair damage that stress and depression cause. At the same time, opiate-like endorphins and endocannabinoids (similar to the other kind of cannabis) flood your system, leading to a sense of well-being. (Source: http://www.self.com/fitness/2012/05/benefits-of-exercise).  What do all those words and chemicals mean?  Here's the simple breakdown:  When you exercise your brain releases feel good chemicals and you stop thinking about what is making you sad, defeated, down, etc.

The effects can be long lasting...Research has found that a mere 20-minute workout can produce more subtle mood benefits that last as long as 12 hours. (Source: http://www.self.com/fitness/2012/05/benefits-of-exercise).   So, instead of what we used to believe to be called "Runner's High"  a good workout can actually change your entire day---if you're awake for 12 hours at a time. I hope so, but if not, I ain't judging you--this is a no judgie zone.

What about PR's and goals?  Us crossfitters know how important they are.  You hit a PR and all of sudden your dancing around like a fool staring in your own little show called "I PR'ed".  No one else cares--but it's almost like your accepting your first Grammy.
 These are my goals on the goal board from Solstice.  One day I was throwing around the 95 lb bar trying to do a clean and jerk and I was cursing and throwing things (my MO).  My coach Joe said to make it my goal..so I did.  2 weeks later I have accomplished not only 95 lbs but 105 lbs as well.  When I picked up 95 and did it immediate I was dancing around like a dumb ass.  Did I care that there were people around? Nope. I wish they had a video of it somewhere--it's American's Funniest Wod's worthy.  Okay lose 20 lbs,  I am trying.  18 more to go.  I know I can do it because my support system at Solstice is phenomenal.  Also, I try to eat clean as much as possible--- this week keep an eye out for my Clean Hawaiian Chicken. Even though it's not my goal either my Push Jerk is around 135.   I'd like to get it up to 150 by the end of this month.

GUESS WHAT...
Exercise has many psychological and emotional benefits too. It can help you:
  • Gain confidence. Meeting exercise goals or challenges, even small ones, can boost your self-confidence. Getting in shape can also make you feel better about your appearance.
  • Take your mind off worries. Exercise is a distraction that can get you away from the cycle of negative thoughts that feed anxiety and depression.
  • Get more social interaction. Exercise may give you the chance to meet or socialize with others. Just exchanging a friendly smile or greeting as you walk around your neighborhood can help your mood.
  • Cope in a healthy way. Doing something positive to manage anxiety or depression is a healthy coping strategy. Trying to feel better by drinking alcohol, dwelling on how badly you feel, or hoping anxiety or depression will go away on its own can lead to worsening symptoms.
    (Source: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/depression-and-exercise/MH00043)
So, what is the point of my rant?  Put on your big girl/boy pants and go do a WOD so you don't go all postal on anyone.  Stay healthy, stay happy, and stay positive.  Life is only so long and unhappiness, grudges, and regrets are like a disease that will pull you down to their level.

 The wise Julie Foucher once said: If you put in the work, you will see measurable improvements. AMAZING.  (Source: http://juliefoucher.com/2013/07/14/how-crossfit-prepared-me-for-the-usmle-step-1/)




In closing---  Let go, let love, and let the WOD kick your ass.