The Positive Impact of Physical Fitness on Emotional Fitness

By Dr. Brooke R. Envick and Rick Martinez

In Rest Day/Theory

May 25, 2010

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CrossFitters Dr. Brooke Envick and Rick Martinez create a study designed to test whether physical fitness can improve your emotional fitness.

Health-science experts claim that the combination of proper nutrition with physical exercise will improve your emotional well-being. In other words, improved physical fitness can lead to improved emotional fitness.

Emotional fitness is defined as the state wherein the mind is capable of staying away from negative thoughts and can focus on creative and constructive tasks. Being emotionally fit is the key to success in all aspects of life. Negative emotions such as anger, anxiety, sadness and distress can prevent success and drain the energy needed to be productive in your daily routine and activities.

It stands to reason that improving your physical fitness can make you a happier and more productive person, not only in the gym but also in everyday life. We decided to see for ourselves by conducting a study with our own members at Alamo CrossFit, owned and operated by Rick Martinez. As such, the subjects were CrossFitters with varying experience levels rather than average people who had never experienced the program, but we wanted to see the results of the study and decide what, if anything, we could conclude.

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9 Comments on “The Positive Impact of Physical Fitness on Emotional Fitness”

1

wrote …

Interesting. Why did 7 of the 14 randomly chosen subjects fail to complete the study? What were the circumstances/reasons for their respective drop-outs?

--bingo

2

wrote …

If I recall correctly, five did not complete all the requirements of the challenge. There were some requirements to make sure everyone was following the Paleo diet such as blogging every Monday about their week and turning in food logs each week. Some people simply failed to stick to the diet and meet other requirements. The other two were not available to take the post-test Emogram. To be consistent, we needed all participants to take the post-test on the last day of the challenge. ~ Brooke

3

wrote …

WHY did they not complete the requirements? Time constraints? Work stress? Other issues that worked to drive their committment down? What prevented the two from being available to take the post-test Emogram?

For the five who did not complete all requirements of the challenge what was the effect of the imcomplete program on their "emotional fitness?"

Was there any correlation between "emotional fitness" at intake and whether or not the subjects completed the study?

--bingo

4

wrote …

The five who did not complete it had a variety of reasons, but yes mostly time/work constraints. The two "finishers" who were not availble when we did the post-Emogram test (one had a family event; one had to be at work). We did not assess the five that dropped out, because they were not present at the final gathering/assessment, most likely because they dropped out.

This was very exploratory in nature. A more solid study would include more participants, post-testing everyone (those who finished, those who did not), and perhaps even an assessment mid-way through the challenge.

It definitely calls for a larger and more rigorous study.

5

wrote …

It would be interesting to know if there is a feedback loop that is BI-DIRECTIONAL between "emotional fitness" and physical fitness as we define it in CF. Were those people who were able to complete the Challenge the more "emotionally fit" to begin with, thereby starting with a greater degree of overall wellness and making them more able to engage in the Challenge? Was there a decline in the "emotional fitness" in the cohort that did NOT complete the challenge such that they had a lesser degree of wellness, thereby interfering with their ability to increase their physical fitness by completing the Challenge?

There are multiple metrics for "emotional fitness" available, many of them tuned more to general satisfaction or contentment with life. I do not find them any more valid than the value you have chosen, and I like the numeric nature of your test.

--bingo

6

wrote …

This rest day article is ok, but its no Global Warming article.....

7

wrote …

Darrell,
Were those people who were able to complete the Challenge the more "emotionally fit" to begin with, thereby starting with a greater degree of overall wellness and making them more able to engage in the Challenge?

No. In fact the two participants who scored lowest on overall EQ (emotional quality) during the pre-test phase both finished the challenge and had dramatic increases in the post EQ score.

Was there a decline in the "emotional fitness" in the cohort that did NOT complete the challenge such that they had a lesser degree of wellness, thereby interfering with their ability to increase their physical fitness by completing the Challenge?

Would be interesting to test next time, but as I indicated, these participants did not to a post-test.

8

wrote …

Nich that's funny.

Seems like this technique will always be subject to the CrossFit bias - lots of folk who are not tough and adaptable are screened out in the first place. In this example, folks were further screened by the demands of the challenge, leaving only the survivors.

Still - nice work! Great start on attempting to get your hands around such an important and challenging issue.

9

wrote …

As Dr. Envick wrote "It definitely calls for a larger and more rigorous study." This is something I've played around with in my head and it shows some promise for more research.

I agree with Paul's comment on CrossFit bias. I understand it was easy with your access to the CF gym but to get solid results out of this, other studies can't have CFers as the population. Also it looks like you're studying two variables here - CrossFit workouts and paleolithic nutrition against emotional fitness.

Nonetheless, solid foundation for future work!

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