You’ve probably heard about the obvious strength training benefits: muscle growth, improved athleticism, weight loss, etc.
But what about our mental health? Would lifting weights help with anxiety, stress, depression, and similar? Or are we better off with more traditional activities like jogging in the park if we want to keep depression at bay?
Strength Training For Our Mental Health: A Match Made In Heaven?
It’s important to note that any form of exercise that keeps you active, brings some results, and leads to enjoyment will positively impact your mental health. We have more than enough research to suggest that physical movement benefits us on many levels (1, 2). Observational studies have long since suggested that active people are happier and more fulfilled than sedentary individuals (3).
Further, physical activity improves our productivity, boosts our motivation, and increases our energy levels, making us more likely to participate in many other activities with a positive impact on our mental health (4).
With that out of the way, let’s take a look at some specific benefits you can reap from strength training:
Four Ways In Which Strength Training Improves Mental Health
- It Melts Stress
Physical activity is one of the best ways to melt the day’s stress (5). Lifting weights is incredibly beneficial because it helps you leave all the negative energy at the gym.
- It Keeps Depression at Bay
Depression is a complicated mental disorder with many potential causes. The condition is characterized by feelings of dread and hopelessness that impact how you think and act.
According to research, resistance training is a fantastic activity you can practice to keep depression at bay (6). In fact, some research finds that lifting weights can relieve depression in previously sedentary individuals (7).
- It Combats Anxiety And Boosts Your Confidence
It’s no secret that anxiety can be debilitating. Regardless of who you are, you’ve likely suffered from the occasional bout of anxiety when socializing, dealing with problems, and more. The problem with anxiety is that it can increase the risk of depression, impair sleep quality, and reduce our quality of life.
The great news about strength training is that it helps combat anxiety by boosting our confidence (8). As a result, we feel much more comfortable in our skin and are less likely to suffer from anxiety in various situations.
- It Develops Your Sense of Self-Worth
Working on yourself and your abilities is as personal as it gets. There is no other feeling like the one you get from pushing yourself and realizing that you’re improving. It feels satisfying, makes you confident, and boosts your sense of self-worth.
More importantly, the progress you see with strength training solidifies your beliefs that you’re capable of improving in all areas of life. Sure, you might be setting a new personal record on the squat. But that act makes you more confident, leading to better productivity, healthier relationships, and more.
Strength training is one of the activities everyone should practice. Regardless of who you are and how you feel, lifting weights offers too many benefits to ignore.
But, aside from putting effort into the gym, you should also take care of your nutrition, as it plays a massive role in your ability to grow and get stronger. Consuming plenty of whole foods and getting enough of each nutrient is important for feeling well and preventing nutrient deficiencies.
Protein is one of the essential nutrients you need because it supports growth, allows your body to carry out many of its processes, and more. Great sources include meat, fish, eggs, dairy, and protein-rich goodies like protein Viking Waffles, chia pudding protein bars, etc.