Resistance Training, The Best Medicine For Mental Health!

There’s now solid evidence out there around resistance training or also known as weight training and it’s proven ability to be beneficial to your mental health. With anxiety and depression rampant in our society, it’s time to spread the word on how important it is to add resistance training to your schedule.

“With anxiety and depression rampant in our society, it’s time to spread the word on how important it is to add resistance training to your schedule.”

So many of you will know very well the physical benefits of resistance exercise training and these are well documented such as an increase of muscular strength which are inversely and independently associated with all-cause mortality, with evidence that it reduces your chance of cardiovascular disease, peripheral artery disease, cancer, renal failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and rheumatoid arthritis.

This means that every time you put an extra effort into progressively loading the body, you’re adding years to your life, and adding quality to those years. Other benefits of resistance training include increasing or maintaining an appropriate level of strength as we age.

The digits on our fingers get quite a workout these days, but they’re not going to help us stimulating energy and glucose metabolism (allowing us to enjoy an improvement in metabolising the foods we eat) which in turn leads to improved musculature, giving you a better chance at getting that washboard stomach or 6-pack that deep down inside you’d really like to have!

Until recently, little has been known regarding the association of resistance training with mental health outcomes. In 2017 the results of 33 trials with a total of 1,877 participants concluded that resistance training was associated with a significant reduction in depressive symptoms among adults regardless of health status, the amount of volume prescribed, or whether there was any relative strength improvements gained.

It might alarm you to know that there’s more than 300 million people worldwide affected by depression. That’s a sizeable burden that many are carrying around both emotionally and financially.

As you know, prevention is far better than the cure, so if you’ve been resisting the weight room (pardon the pun) I’d like to inspire you to rethink that decision and find a way to get back to training. There’s a clear case it’ll lead to a happier you. We all want to be happy, right? And if that isn’t enough reason to pique your interest into switch the ordering of drinks at the bar to adding plates to the bar, resistance training is likely to give a side effect that’ll make you proud…you’ll be able to chip away at those love handles that have found their way to your waistline in the last couple of years as well. Win!

Now I, like many people my age, have endured many challenges, and without a doubt, exercise, in particular weight training, has always been one of my go-to’s in moments when I’ve had a case of the blues.

In fact, when I’ve been forced into a corner to face a challenge bigger than me, one thing I have found extremely liberating is to grab a heavy weighted bar, pick it up from the floor, throw it above my head and then drop it on the floor in delight (in weightlifting circles this movement is also known as the Clean & Jerk, or Snatch).

Sure, it might be a little difficult getting that first foot into the gym, but it’s guaranteed if you put in a little bit of effort, you’ll walk back out again a little bit happier.

Now I understand there may also be those who say, “but I don’t know what to do so how can I possibly I start?” or “I’m only a beginner so everyone I’m not going to be able to keep up with everyone else”. If this sounds like someone you know, please consider this … anyone who’s mastered this weight training activity had to start somewhere. When we were babies, we learned to crawl before we walked, and before we walked, we also had to learn to flex the knee to take it into a lunge before we could stand up grabbing the couch for balance. The consistency of adding small progressions to your activity all adds up and before you know it, you’ll be giving yourself a high-five for learning a new skill.

“… the consistency of adding small progressions to your activity all adds up and before you know it, you’ll be giving yourself a high-five for leaning a new skill.”

If you would like to know more about how resistance training can dramatically improve your quality of life and would like to know more of the how to’s, the why’s and how you too can get lifting, please connect with me over LinkedIn or via email at [email protected].

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