Over the last month I have recently started a journey into the sport of crossfit. After become bored of my traditional training methods and seeing YouTubers ‘The Lean Machines’ enjoying the sport, I wanted to give it a go.
A high intensity mixture of cardio, weightlifting and gymnastics, the idea with crossfit is that workouts are always varied and test your functional fitness and strength.
After my recent experience with crossfit I have noticed several reasons why it is a brilliant choice for your mental health exercise.
1. It is performance driven, not asethetically driven. Trying to beat times, increase strength and out-do previous performances, instead of worrying about physique and aesthetics is a formidable mindset change that can really boost self-esteem. At a crossfit box (what we call the gym), there aren’t even mirrors. Your physical appearance will improve in the background but it is not the reason you turn up each session and it is not the thing unhealthily dominating your thoughts.
2. Sense of community. In a crossfit class there is usually a maximum of ten students. This means that there is a sense of team spirit; you are all in it together. You say hello to everyone at the box and become friends with a lot of the attendees. This contrasts to a normal ‘globogym’ where everyone usually trains solitarily. It is so much easier to be present when surrounded by people, especially the kind that are encouraging and positive.
3. Learning new skills. Crossfit is a very technique based sport. Learning weightlifting manoeuvres such as the Snatch or the Clean and Jerk take mental stimulation and perseverance. Challenging your mind with building new neural pathways will really help you gain a sense of pride and purpose when you might be feeling lost and low.
Doing a form of exercise that you love is so great for your mental health. If you’re struggling to find yours I’d really encourage you to give crossfit a go.