Crossfit aerobic training and running. You have probably heard that exercise improves mood, memory and brain function. And that it may protect against Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline. Former runners who have turned to CrossFit may remember their runner’s high. It was that wonderful feeling of peace and well-being. CrossFit is a great fitness program. For many people it has become a way of life. But it does not seem to produce the “high” that many people get from running. Combining CrossFit running is something to think about.
Running. The moderate stuff matters.
The “runner’s high” is thought to be caused by chemicals called endocannabinoids. These chemicals are produced in the brain (and possibly in other areas). They reduce feelings of pain and increase feelings of well-being. Endocannabinoids are also involved in appetite suppression and synaptic plasticity. Synaptic plasticity refers to the ability of neurons to adapt and change. An area where Synaptic plasticity is important is in learning and memory formation. New research (April 2013) on endocannabinoids shows that moderate aerobic exercise increases production. Low intensity exercise (like walking) does not. High intensity exercise does not seem to increase endocannabinoids either. CrossFit is very high intensity exercise. Including moderate intensity running with CrossFit (CrossFit running) is probably a good idea. If you are interested in preserving cognitive function. Or if you are interested in improving cognitive function. Some of us are just trying to keep from losing ground. CrossFit is fun. And great for full-body fitness. But it may be that a relaxing run, bike or swim is just as important. If not more.
Raichlen DA, Foster AD, Seillier A, Giuffrida A, & Gerdeman GL (2013). Exercise-induced endocannabinoid signaling is modulated by intensity. European journal of applied physiology, 113 (4), 869-75 PMID: 22990628