Benefits of Strength Training for Mental Health
Benefits of strength training can be a personal and unique experience, however, listed below are some of the common yet evident benefits of mental health:
The act of committing to a goal, building habits, and sticking to a routine through a weight training workout routine can help boost your mood by releasing endorphins that provide feel-good chemicals that help you see the brighter side of life. Research shows that resistance training can also reduce other depressive symptoms; provided you speak to a mental health professional first, in case you experience symptoms of depression or any other mental health issue. There is no downside to participating in strength training or other physical activity to combat symptoms of depression.
While several studies have shown the benefits of exercise, it is imperative that you seek medical treatment as well to bring close attention of a professional to your individual mental health needs. Involving in physical training does not mean you can discontinue the medication prescribed by your doctor. Weight training facilitates the process of recovery and combating your stress, depression along with your prescribed medication.
Strengthens Mind-Body Connection
A high-level of mind-body connection is needed for strength training because with the use of heavy weights comes with some risks. It’s vital to be aware of how your body is responding and reacting to your workout routine.
An example of communicating with your own body is when you engage in movement with the intention of letting your body guide you, such as listening to your body about the amount of weight to lift, the kind of movements that feel good and the ones that don’t. This helps in building a trust between our body and mind.
But beware of the fact that strength training can also be done in a way that overrides your body wisdom, because you also need to push your body beyond your limitations to progress through your workout. And this can happen only when you have a strong mindset which lets your body push through its limits. Of course, avoiding injury and not overtraining your muscles need to be considered, in guidance of a trainer. Be mindful of how you are feeling and not ignoring any of those signals.
Lowers Stress and Anxiety
Working out can reduce stress and anxiety by bringing down your stress hormone called cortisol. The feel-good hormone (as mentioned above) can help to bring down cortisol levels and make you feel relieved after the workout.
Moreover, resistance training can help our bodies maintain hormonal health, and our hormones affect every part of our body, especially our emotions and our mental state of being. Recent research shows that weight training specifically can reduce anxiety by up to 20%. The increase in their workout abilities, progress in their exercise routine can most likely increase their confidence and self-esteem, which then could lead to a reduction in anxiety.
Boosts Brain Health
Strength training can also boost our brain health, helping with memory and preventing cognitive decline. Incorporating it into your routine, engages and boosts your mental energy and focus. Research also shows that 70 to 150 minutes of weekly resistance training workout, results in improved cognitive abilities in older individuals. Evidence suggests that resistance training and other exercises can facilitate neuroprotective growth factors, reduce inflammatory markers in the brain, and assist in new brain cell formation as well, which all aid in boosting brain health.
Increases Body Positivity
Most of us have body issues, inhibitions and have a certain perception about our own body image. For some people, exercise may even be seen as a form of compensation for poor eating habits, or as a way to force your body into a socially accepted certain shape. This often means trying to look slimmer, or physically appealing by losing weight. Focusing on your physical appearance can cause people to overthink, become body conscious, in turn developing an unhealthy relationship with their body. This might make exercises seem like a compulsion instead of a positive transformation journey. Movement can become a way of compensating for the food we’ve eaten or an attempt to eliminate negative body image. These can be red flags for eating disorders, disordered eating, and unhealthy exercise mindset and behaviors. Choosing to center your exercise routine on building strength, removes the sole aspect of appearance from performing physical activity. It is majorly up to you as an individual along with your trainer to change this mindset. Build strength, so that you have a clear indicator of how your body can perform and do amazing things that you probably didn’t even know that you were capable of. Plus, this physical activity can have a positive impact on body image and gradually remove the perception of body dissatisfaction from your mind. The researchers also found that the effect on body image for teens found that physical activity can help them achieve a positive self-concept and promote psychological well-being.