In the video below, psychiatrist Robert Waldinger talks about the importance of social relationships on our physical and emotional health.
His TedTalk “What makes a good life? Lessons from the longest study on happiness,” Waldinger draws data from a 75-year-old study on adult development. The things that keep us happy and healthy throughout life are perhaps not what you might think. A lot of it boils down to the quality of the relationships we have.
While watching the video, I couldn’t help but think about how the lessons he describes apply to our daily practice at CrossFit. The CrossFit class model, the simple act of coming to the gym, interacting with other humans in a small group setting, and void of any cell phones or social media during the hour, contributes to the development of happy, connected relationships. This may be as beneficial to our health and fitness as burpees, thrusters, and sound nutrition!
In the current climate where our world is uber-connected by social media, reports of loneliness are increasing. In recent years, the fitness industry has made a push for workouts that can be done solo in the privacy of your own home. Purchase some equipment, tune in to a virtual class, and reap the same benefits as driving to a gym. While time constraints, commute time to the gym, and the appeal of a techy fitness program are factors to consider, it is also worth considering what we gain from the daily and quality interactions with other humans.
As a small example, I know that my mood and outlook on the day improve after attending a group class. Most often, it’s not the actual workout that produces this shift. It’s the laughter, connection, and stories that transpire within the class throughout the hour.
Do you find that you experience something similar?