Stress can contribute to anxiety disorders, which affect 40 million adults in the U.S., or nearly one in five people, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, and sadly one in eight children, too.
We all experience the days when we walk through the doors tired and stressed (kids, work, relationships, tax season, lack of sleep, etc…). But post W.O.D, we walk out refreshed and energized (and sweaty). The positive effects of exercising extend far beyond the box. As you might have guessed, research shows a positive relationship between exercise and mental health, motivation and even when exercising with a group that it decreases the pain threshold!
Exercise Can Help Control Stress
The Benefits of Exercise for the Clinically Depressed
Depression and anxiety: Exercise eases symptoms
Exercise and Pharmacotherapy in the Treatment of Major Depressive Disorder
The exercise effect
Exercise for Stress and Anxiety
Exercise for the treatment of depression and anxiety
Aerobic exercise is promoted when individual performance affects the group: a test of the Kohler motivation gain effect.
Rowers’ high: behavioural synchrony is correlated with elevated pain thresholds.
Along with exercise, adequate sleep and a strong social support (aka, all of your friends at the box!) can help reduce the hormones that contribute to anxiety. Better than any pain pill can!
Gone are my days of regularly working out alone with my headphones on. It’s true, I’m addicted to the feeling of exercising (and competing) with my friends. It’s not just the adrenaline rush after hearing 3, 2, 1, GO!, it’s the community and support of those in class.
Why aren’t more doctors prescribing exercise as medicine?? I realize it’s faster to write a prescription for a patient than to come up with a detailed workout schedule for them. It’s the quick fix. But faster and easier is what’s getting all of us into trouble.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the use of antidepressants grew nearly 400 percent between 1988 and 2008, making them the most commonly used drug among people 18 to 44.
Convenience isn’t the answer.
con·ven·ience [kuhn-veen-yuhns] noun:
1. the state of being able to proceed with something with little effort or difficulty.
2. anything that saves or simplifies work, adds to one’s ease or comfort, etc., as an appliance, tool, utensil, or the like.
So, don’t be a tool. If you don’t belong to a box yet, grab a friend to join you for a good-old-fashion-hard-work-sweat-session, you won’t regret it! Because, it’s during those moments when you think you can’t push any harder, your friends will carry you through.