Everyone knows that regular exercise is good for the body. But exercise is also one of the most effective ways to improve your mental health. Regular exercise can have a profoundly positive impact on depression, anxiety, ADHD, and more. It also relieves stress, improves memory, helps you sleep better, and boosts overall mood.  No matter your age or fitness level, you can learn to use exercise as a powerful tool to feel better.

Training is not just about how fast or how strong you are. People who exercise regularly tend to do so because it gives them an enormous sense of well-being. They feel more energetic throughout the day, sleep better at night, have sharper memories, and feel more relaxed and positive about themselves and their lives. And it’s also powerful medicine for many common mental health challenges. Our members at CrossFit 4504 find the regular sense of achievement they get from our classes boosts their self esteem as does the fun of training with friends.

It’s a powerful depression fighter for several reasons. Most importantly, it promotes all kinds of changes in the brain, including neural growth, reduced inflammation, and new activity patterns that promote feelings of calm and well-being. It also releases endorphins, powerful chemicals in your brain that energize your spirits and make you feel good. Finally, exercise can also serve as a distraction, allowing you to find some quiet time to break out of the cycle of negative thoughts that feed depression.  We see this happening every day in our gym, even our coaches can speak first hand how working through depression was assisted by their regular training and the positive supportive environment in classes.  Our Head Coach Lisa has gone through depression herself and can speak honestly about it and understands the challenges that are faced.  She also experienced first hand the benefits from her CrossFit training when she was at her lowest.

Sometimes when you’re suffering with stress, depression or anxiety the hardest part can be getting a new program started.  It can be overwhelming and daunting.  Here are some steps that can help you get started and take the pressure off yourself:

It’s okay to start small. 

When you’re under the cloud of an emotional time and haven’t exercised for a long time, setting yourself huge goals like completing a marathon or working out for an hour every morning will only leave you more deflated if you fall short. Better to set yourself achievable goals and build up from there.  At CrossFit 4504 our coaches can work with you on an achievable goal and schedule that is manageable and we can build on that.

Focus on activities you enjoy.

Any activity that gets you moving counts. That could include throwing a ball with a dog or friend, walking laps of a local lake or park (the weather has been stunning for this lately), or cycling to the park.

Make exercise a social activity.

Exercising with a friends or family will not only make exercising more fun and enjoyable, it can also help to motivate you to stick to a workout routine. You’ll also feel better than exercising alone. In fact, when you’re suffering from a mood disorder such as depression, the companionship can be just as important as the exercise.  Find a group of community where you feel supported and included.  CrossFit is different in that you aren’t just a faceless number and no one knows or cares if you are there or not.  We in fact do notice and do care, and we also want you to have fun while you’re here.

The hour you spend in class with us should be the best hour of your day!!  No matter what is going on outside the gym in your every day life this is your hour to focus on you and have our coaches focus on you.  You don’t have to be the adult, boss, mum, dad, whatever, you can be you and use that time to find strength within yourself you didn’t know you had.  This is your time!!  Start today!!