The Benefits of CrossFit: Improving your Mental Health Through Fitness

CrossFit is an excellent way to work on our physical health, but it offers just as many mental health benefits as physical ones.

Research from the National Institute of Mental Health indicates that approximately 1 in 5 adults in the United States experience mental illness each year. So, it is very likely that you are someone you know has experienced mental illness and knows how much it can affect your life.

Before starting CrossFit, I was skeptical of both the environment and the workouts. However, it did not take me long to see the benefits of CrossFit classes. Not only did I become fitter and stronger, my mental health improved, and I found a very supportive community where I could work towards my goals. Click here to learn more about classes at CrossFit Billings.

We will talk about four specific mental health benefits of CrossFit in this article:

  • Enhanced Focus and Concentraion
  • Improved Self-Confidence
  • Stress Relief
  • A Feeling of Community
The Multiple Benefits of crossfit
enhanced focus and concentraion

In CrossFit, there are are many complex movements to master, so it is imperative to take the time perfecting basics and learn correct form. No matter what level you reach, there will always be things to work on. Take the snatch, for example. It is a very complex lift with many moving parts. Especially as a newer athlete, it takes significant concentration and focus to learn. 

Knowing our bodies and minds helps us with our mental health. And through these more advance movements of CrossFit, we are required to build our mind-body connection, contributing to positive impacts in our overall well-being. We can take this enhanced focus and bring it to other areas of our life, helping us to find success in our professional and personal lives.

improved self-confidence

CrossFit is hard. The workouts, the movements, pretty much everything we do in a CrossFit gym challenges us. However, the challenge is never out of our reach. We push ourselves to achieve goals that are daunting but reachable. As coaches, we often have members come into a classes, expressing their apprehension for the workout. But by the end of class, they surprised themselves by doing something hard and realizing they are stronger than they thought. 

CrossFit builds our self-confidence. Yes, there are discouraging days. But CrossFit teaches us to endure these days – knowing it is part of the process. In the end, we come out with a confidence that we can do the hard things in life, greatly contributing to our mental health.  

stress relief

CrossFit is a high-intensity activity that involves a combination of cardio, weightlifting, and gymnastics.

This sort of activity causes a release of endorphins in our body during and after a workout. These chemicals are natural painkillers and mood enhancers, elevating our feelings of well-being after a workout. That, in turn, allows us to face the rest of the day in a better mood and approach the other twenty-three hours of our day positively.

High intensity workouts also have been shown to improve sleep quality. When we get good quality sleep, we are more apt to make good decisions throughout the day. Coupled with the benefits we receive during the workout, we can improve our mental health by building good lifestyle habits.

a feeling of community

In this day and age, more people are experiencing symptoms of loneliness and isolation, greatly impacting mental health in a negative way. So much can be done online these days; it makes it all too easy to stay home and avoid connection with others.

Before CrossFit I didn’t realize just how important having a community around me was. In a CrossFit gym, it is not just about the workouts, it is also being in an extremely supportive environment where everyone is working on themselves. There is no judgement; we are all learning, no matter what level. 

We all have those days of discouragement. On these days, for me, sometimes the last thing I want to do is go to the gym. However, these are usually the most important days to make it in. I have never regretting getting into the gym, and I usually leave feeling better after connecting with the community and getting in a good workout.

Click here to find out about classes at CrossFit Billings.

If you know someone who could benefit from trying CrossFit, follow the link below to sign up for a free, no-sweat intro.

By Karisa Stapp

people working out in a group fitness class


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