A DRUG We Should Take Daily

  • By silviub
  • 31 Mar, 2014
This has been one long winter! Things are looking up though, as we see the sun set past 7pm, and have the sun blinding our morning commute.  During the dark cold winter months, many people go through some sort of…
This has been one long winter! Things are looking up though, as we see the sun set past 7pm, and have the sun blinding our morning commute.  During the dark cold winter months, many people go through some sort of depression.  Depression and Anxiety is becoming more and more prevalent in our society, as we become more and more sedentary.  The good news is that there are other options for these elements that do not include medication.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one to disregard medication, as I believe they have their place.  However, I also believe we are too heavily medicated.  Exercise is a great “drug” for may ailments, and I’ve seen people get off of heart, diabetes, and anxiety medication when being involved in a solid exercise program.
Why is exercise such a good drug? Exercise:
  • Releases feel-good brain chemicals that may ease depression (neurotransmitters and endorphins)
  • Reduces immune system chemicals that can worsen depression
  • Increases body temperature, which may have calming effects
  • Helps 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.
  • Takes your mind off worries. Exercise is a distraction that can get you away from the cycle of negative thoughts that feed anxiety and depression.
  • Social interaction. Exercise may give you the chance to meet or socialize with others. CrossFit thrives on this, as we’re all one big crazy family.
  • Is a Good way to Cope. 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.
There have been several scientific studies that support these claims, and they are proven to work in the real world.  But how much exercise do we need? Well, we constantly see governments change prescriptions as their populations gets becomes more unhealthy.  We’ve heard 1/2h a day, 1h 3x a week, 1h a day, light intensity, high intensity, blah blah blah.  It’s a little frustrating when the so called experts really aren’t experts at all.  Or when we see a “doctor” prescribe light walking as exercise to patients and the doctor themselves are terribly unhealthy.  The nice thing about our gym, is you in and out in an hour (unless you stick around for the social interaction after the WOD). My prescription is GO HARD, at least 30min 5 days a week.  That allows you to makes serious progress. What does GOING HARD look like? Well, like I’ve always said, intensity is extremely relative.  Everyone’s intensity is relative to where they are in their fitness walk.  My intensity is 50% of what Rich Froning’s intensity is but that doesn’t mean that I don’t feel the same way as Rich when I finish my workout, even if it is in double the time. So focus on competing against yourself, beat you self day in, day out, and you’ll have the intensity you desire.
Simply going for a hike, or a walk through the mall is great and may have some positive benefits for people dealing with depression, and anxiety but that just isn’t enough.  It’s a great activity choice for a “day off” where you can recover from your real exercise.  Recovery is so important so if for example you take Thursday off, take the dog out to the forest for an hour hike, you won’t feel beat up, on the contrary, you’ll be refreshed and be better recovered that sitting around doing a whole lot of nothing. We were created to do work, to be productive, to move and constantly be better.  As humans, we are never satisfied with good enough, when it comes to our government, our homes, education, technology, health care system etc… So why would we be satisfied with taking it easy and avoiding exercise? Get your ass off the couch, put that pint down and get to the box.
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