Mental Health Benefits From Resistance Training

We are all aware and familiar with the many health-related benefits of resistance training, including a lower risk of mortality, hypertension, cardiovascular conditions and having a better body composition. Besides these health benefits, research has shown that resistance training actually helps to improve mental health conditions in women and men. Our bottom line message for you are: For a mental lift, you should weight lift.

1)    Anxiety
Anxiety is generally manifested in feelings of nervousness, fear, and worry. It is normal to experience anxiety in relation to tests, interviews, new challenges or performances. However, with prolonged and heightened symptoms, anxiety is associated with sleep disruptions, mental distress, bodily pain, poor health and limitations to physical activity. Studies have shown that resistance training is a meaningful intervention for people suffering from anxiety.

2)    Cognitive function of the brain
Cognition refers to the brain’s processing ability to obtain knowledge through thought, experience, and the senses. This is also referred to as the brain control centre manages all of the tasks in a person’s life, such as writing an article, doing a research project, preparing for class and organizing a trip. Numerous researches on exercise and cognitive function show that resistance training improves several aspects of cognition in healthy older adults. One of the most profound effects is a significant improvement in memory and memory-related tasks.

3)    Depression
Faced with life’s challenges and losses, most people feel sad or depressed at one time or another. However, intense sadness may lead to feelings of hopelessness and helplessness, resulting in mood disturbances, fatigue, lack of motivation, insomnia, restlessness, agitation, and body weight fluctuations. Studies examining the effect of resistance training on persons with depression symptoms found out that resistance training participation is linked to large reductions in depression.

4)    Chronic Fatigue
There is a noticeable increase in the number of adults experiencing persistent fatigue symptoms. In addition, the occurrence of chronic fatigue is elevated among people with lasting medical illnesses, especially those with psychological disorders. For some people, fatigue is a reason for them to make frequent visit to their physicians. Studies on exercise and fatigue show that exercise is clinically beneficial and even more beneficial than drug or cognitive behavioural interventions. In fact, a strength training-only intervention results in the largest improvements in chronic fatigue.

5)    Self-Esteem
Self-esteem is a person’s self-opinion. It is a personality characteristic tied in with self-worth, self-respect, and self-integrity. High self-esteem is strongly associated with positive physical and mental well-being. Resistance training has been shown to improve self-esteem in healthy adults, in populations with cancer or depression and in people undergoing cardiac rehabilitation.

6)    Sleep
Insufficient sleep is very problematic for our physical and mental health. Consistent sleep deprivation is associated with cognitive impairment, mental illness, hypertension, obesity, cardiovascular disease, stroke and a diminished quality of life. The research indicates that physically active people usually have healthy sleep patterns and a lower risk for sleep apnea.

The mechanism by which resistance training improves mental health is speculative at this time. It is suggested that a complex network of neurophysiological adaptations occur that directly and indirectly affect mental processes. In addition, resistance training may improve central nervous system functioning, which could have a positive effect on mental health.

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