The Benefits of Strength Training on Mental Health
Working out is not just for physical health. It can also have a huge impact on our mental health.
This article will explore the benefits of exercise, and how it can help you live a happier life with better mental clarity.
COVID-19 saw all of our worlds be turned upside down and this has had a knock-on effect not only on our physical but also our collective mental health.
People's lives as and livelihoods have been massively impacted and led to huge changes in our day-to-day routines, ie. how we take care of ourselves as well as others.
Strength training has a significant beneficial influence on our daily mentality, not to mention the physical benefits it provides.
In fact, strength training of all types—aerobic, resistance exercise, swimming, and yoga—has been shown in studies to have a positive impact on the brain and our ability to persevere through life's trials and tribulations.
Improved mood and increased energy
Depression is a type of mood disorder characterised by feelings of sadness and lifelessness.
Participants' emotions improved significantly after a single exercise session, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Psychology.
This study also found a connection between exercise and lower levels of fatigue.
Another study, published in the Journal of Health Psychology, concluded that participants who had exercised reported feeling less anxious than those who hadn't—and they attributed these feelings to their workout session.
The researchers suggest this is because physical activity can deliver short-term relief from stressors such as work or school deadlines by increasing heart rate and pumping up your body's feel-good endorphins.
In addition, working out makes you more productive afterwards so it helps with getting things done too!
If you're a lifter who isn't sure if doing a single workout is really worth it, the data shows that it can have a good influence on attitude, mindset, and mood.
In addition, research has revealed that adults who engaged in regular physical activity had decreased rates of both long-term and acute depression regardless of age, sex, ethnicity, financial situation, body mass index (BMI), and other variables.
Anxiety disorders have increased dramatically in the last decade, mirroring the increase seen in depression.
Anxiety, by definition, is a mental health condition that causes one to feel excessive worry, unease, and nervousness over a specific event or circumstance.
Without a doubt, exercise has been found to be beneficial for anxious people.
Resistance training was shown to decrease anxiety symptoms among young adults within the first week of instruction in a 2020 research published in Scientific Reports.
A 2017 meta-analysis from Sports Medicine revealed that resistance training improved anxiety symptoms among healthy people as well as those with a mental or physical illness.
Essentially, remaining active on the daily will affect physical and mental changes that can assist you in avoid anxious and depressive thoughts and feelings.
Gaining a broader perspective and larger sense of purpose
Taking control of your schedule and planning time to work out with weights or do other strenuous exercise might, in and of itself, provide someone a feeling of achievement - so much of our jobs and social lives are now dominated by technology that getting away from computer and phone screens and engaging in activity provides fresh outlooks on life.
Strength training also has an incredible way of helping you focus on a larger picture and provide a sense of perspective - it helps to eliminate the distractions that cut us off from our true selves.
In addition, exercising allows for increased mindfulness – being able to stop, breathe and concentrate solely on your workout may have profound impacts in terms of improving mental wellbeing.
Most people's motivation to maintain a healthy lifestyle stems from their desire to feel better about themselves, and developing good habits around exercise generally necessitates step-by-step progress.
After you've started your training program, motivation tends to gradually improve.
For those who believe they require encouragement in order to begin, it's crucial for them to realise that motivation is a skill, which can be developed - think of it as a muscle that, like your arm/leg/stomach muscles, needs to be used regularly and consistently for it to be maintained.
Better sleep quality and improved recovery
It is critical for both physical and mental recuperation to get enough sleep.
Emotional information in the brain is processed more effectively while we sleep. Physical exercise enhances both sleep quality and overall sleep satisfaction, according to studies.
A European Journal of Physiotherapy study found that moderate exercise was successful in improving sleep quality in both young and older individuals.
Furthermore, according to studies, moderate activity increases the amount of slow-wave sleep we get, which is the part of our sleep when our brain rejuvenates and processes information.
When we get adequate rest, our bodies produce growth hormones, which aid in the development and repair of muscles, bone formation and development, and fat burning.
Sleep deprivation causes the body's muscles to heal more slowly and lowers mood while also increasing cortisol secretion, the stress hormone.
Lack of sleep can also increase cravings for junk food, which is why it's commonly recommended to eat lighter foods before bedtime.
It is a fact that exercise may have many functions in assisting someone who is suffering from depression or anxiety.
It's an important component of not just symptom alleviation, but also better sleep, which aids the mind in better processing and managing emotions and situations.
Improved cognitive skills and memory
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, there are more than 300 million adults in the U.S., which means that over 100 million of them have some form of cognitive decline or impairment. That's a lot!
But resistance training can help improve brain health through enhanced thinking skills such as reasoning, planning, organizing and problem solving.
It also reduces the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease by slowing down age-related cognitive decline.
You may not know it but our brains are incredibly active when we're working out - studies have shown that aerobic activity increases blood flow in certain parts of the brain, which is critical for language skills and memory formation.
This makes resistance training an important part in preventing mental decline later on in life!
Our bodies are incredible machines capable of so much more than what most people think...which means you should keep up with your routine if you want to feel good both inside AND outside!
So next time someone asks why exercise? You'll be able to answer them better armed with these facts about how great it feels physically and mentally.
It's clear that a new, healthier lifestyle can have a major impact on your mood and energy levels. But what you might not realise is how much of an effect it can have on other aspects of your life as well.
This includes sleep quality and recovery time, cognitive skills and memory capacity, physical appearance, self-confidence level - even the way others perceive us.
There are so many benefits to improving our health from head to toe!
So if you're looking for more ways to live up to your fullest potential in all areas of life, remember that there is power in making better choices about food intake and exercise habits every day.