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crossfit exercise benefits for mental health mental benefits of crossfit how does exercise improve mood does exercise help you sleep best exercise for mental health

CrossFit exercise benefits for mental health: A stronger body and a fitter brain.

Published Aug 2, 2023 | Updated Feb 8, 2024

Crossfit has become increasingly popular. It is a fitness regimen that is characterized by high intensity exercises. The aim is maximising health and physical performance. There is something for everyone. It combines different types of exercises, from running, weightlifting to rowing and gymnastics. Taking an all-rounded approach with different types of exercises, Crossfit is designed to optimize endurance, stamina, flexibility, and strength. The main goal is to achieve the maximal fitness level. The physical benefits also translate into mental benefits of Crossfit. This popular workout programme provides multiple brain benefits. Here are 3 of these benefits:

  • Crossfit can help improve mood.

A 5-week study of those who performed Crossfit found that an hour after the workout, vigour and mood improved, and negative emotions decreased beyond pre-workout levels [1]. Since Crossfit is designed for increasing level of challenging activities, you can reap benefits as a beginner as well. Crossfit workouts are generally an hour long, but if you are just starting out, you would be glad to know that even 30 mins of intense exercise can improve mood [2]. But how does exercise improve mood? Possible reasons for this is exercising increases blood flow to the areas that handle stress, which connects to the motivation and emotion area of the brain, thus regulating them [3]. In addition, the social aspect of the exercise, like Crossfit further extends mood benefits due to social bonding, support, and self-efficacy [3].

  • Crossfit can help improve memory.

Healthy adults performed a 15-minute Crossfit type training and assessed memory scores before and after the exercise session. They found an improvement in scores after the training, which was higher compared to the group that just performed walking [4]. If you are pressed for time, just 6 minutes of high intensity exercise can increase new brain cells formation, contributing to better memory scores [8]. Since Crossfit involves different types of activity: aerobic and weight lifting, the benefits it provides are also more than just aerobic exercise. During Crossfit types of workouts, there is increased blood flow to the brain with increased regulation of stress response [4]. It also leads to higher production of compounds that produce new brain cells [4]. These are part of the mechanism that leads to improved memory. 

  • Crossfit can help you sleep better.

Does exercise help you sleep? Yes, it can. A review of 21 studies found that at least 16 minutes of high intensity exercise like Crossfit, conducted for at least 8 weeks lead to improvement in sleep quality [5]. Crossfit involves resistance training, which has shown to improve sleep quality [9]. It is unclear how the sleep is improved post Crossfit exercise, but it is known that high intensity exercise enhanced the quality of the deep sleep stage [6]. Improved mood and decrease in daytime sleepiness post exercise also lead to improved sleep at night [7].

Crossfit can seem challenging, but its individualized approach with inclusion of different types of exercise makes it a great regimen for body and mind. If you are looking to get motivated to maximise your workouts and be the best version of yourself, you might want to consider Alpha GPC supplement. It is the building block of your memory and attention chemical, acetylcholine. Read more about it here.  Incorporating brain feed’s 500mg Alpha GPC capsule containing 99% Alpha GPC, during your training sessions can help improve performance over time. 

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Crossfit is a good contender for the best exercise for mental health. Start today to optimize your overall fitness.


  1. Box, A. G., Feito, Y., Petruzzello, S. J., & Mangine, G. T. (2018). Mood State Changes Accompanying the Crossfit Open™ Competition in Healthy Adults. Sports (Basel, Switzerland)6(3), 67.
  2. Martínez-Díaz, I.C. and Carrasco, L. (2021). Neurophysiological Stress Response and Mood Changes Induced by High-Intensity Interval Training: A Pilot Study. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(14), p.7320
  3. Sharma, A., Madaan, V., & Petty, F. D. (2006). Exercise for mental health. Primary care companion to the Journal of clinical psychiatry8(2), 106.
  4. Wilke, J. (2020). Functional high-intensity exercise is more effective in acutely increasing working memory than aerobic walking: an exploratory randomized, controlled trial. Scientific Reports, 10(1).
  5. Min, L., Wang, D., You, Y., Fu, Y., & Ma, X. (2021). Effects of High-Intensity Interval Training on Sleep: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. International journal of environmental research and public health18(20), 10973
  6. Park, I., Díaz, J., Matsumoto, S., Iwayama, K., Nabekura, Y., Ogata, H., Kayaba, M., Aoyagi, A., Yajima, K., Satoh, M., Tokuyama, K. and Vogt, K.E. (2021). Exercise improves the quality of slow-wave sleep by increasing slow-wave stability. Scientific Reports, 11(1).
  7. Kline C. E. (2014). The bidirectional relationship between exercise and sleep: Implications for exercise adherence and sleep improvement. American journal of lifestyle medicine8(6), 375–379.
  8. Gibbons, T.D., Cotter, J.D., Ainslie, P.N., Abraham, W.C., Mockett, B.G., Campbell, H.A., Jones, E.M.W., Jenkins, E.J. and Thomas, K.N. (2023). Fasting for 20 h does not affect exercise‐induced increases in circulating BDNF in humans. The Journal of Physiology.
  9. Kovacevic, A., Mavros, Y., Heisz, J. J., & Fiatarone Singh, M. A. (2018). The effect of resistance exercise on sleep: A systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Sleep medicine reviews39, 52–68.

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