Many people use strength training to become physically stronger and perform exercises and everyday tasks better. The good news is the perks of strength training extend beyond the physical. Strength training can bring significant benefits to your mental health and overall sense of self, too.
What Is Strength Training?
Strength or resistance training refers to exercises that help strengthen your muscles by applying external resistance. Resistance can come in the form of weights, machines, resistance bands and even your body weight. Resistance training can help you manage your weight and gain muscle mass. Plus, it strengthens your body and improves your balance, helping you reach optimal physical fitness.
Experts recommend doing strength training for all muscle groups at least twice a week combined with aerobic exercises.
Mental Benefits Of Strength Training
Resistance training is much like any other exercise. While it improves your physical condition, it also greatly improves your mental well-being. Here are some ways strength training can enhance your mental health and help you get a better sense of self.
Reduces Stress And Anxiety
There’s no question that stress and anxiety are part of modern life. People struggle to cope when stressors are everywhere and are seemingly unavoidable. Exercise, particularly strength training, can help relieve stress and anxiety.
When you lift and do resistance exercises, your brain releases hormones called endorphins. These feel-good chemicals reduce pain and stress, helping you improve your overall well-being.
Helps Lower Depression
Depression is another mental health issue that’s becoming more pressing.
A 2018 study showed that resistance training reduced symptoms of depression regardless of participants’ health status. The participants also showed improvement regardless of how much they improved in strength, which means just the act of lifting can already lower depression.
Improves Brain Function
Resistance training can help give your brain a boost in cognition. A recent study showed that older adults showed improved cognition after 12 weeks of strength training. The study suggests that weight training helps protect the brain from age-related degeneration. Participants also showed improvement in neurotransmission.
Enhances Sleep Quality
Getting a good night’s sleep has plenty of benefits for both physical and mental health. Getting continuous and high-quality sleep improves your mood, reduces stress, enhances socialization and sharpens your focus.
If you lack sleep, resistance training might be the answer to your problem. Recent research suggests that strength training can help with sleep quality and might be even better for sleep than aerobic exercises.
Strength training can do wonders for your self-esteem. You might not immediately see results, but over time, you can accurately track your progress and see just how much you’ve improved. There are also ways to track your health as you go through exercise regimens, which can help you see how your well-being is improving.
Once you start beating your personal records, you build confidence, which helps you push yourself to do even better. As you continue setting and reaching goals, you’ll feel stronger and more motivated.
Resistance training can boost your self and body image. As time goes by, you will see concrete results in the mirror. The enhanced physique and increased muscle mass can make you feel great about yourself and improve your overall state of mind.
Plus, your stronger and more muscular body can serve as proof of all your hard work, which helps build confidence and an improved sense of self-worth.
Strength Training For Mind And Body
The mind and body are connected — the state of your body affects your mind and vice versa. With strength training, the constant improvement of your body affects your mind positively, helping you feel more fulfilled and attuned to your sense of self.