Exercising with weights is my absolute favorite kind of workout. Why? For one, there are many different exercises you can do with many different kinds of weights. For example, I can do Squats with Dumbbells, Kettlebells, Barbells, or using Machines like the Leg Press Machine or Hack Squat Machine.
Second reason is the building of muscle endurance and the building of more muscle. Building muscle endurance means pushing through your exhaustive threshold. What meat heads like me like to call going for the burn. This is typically trained at higher repetition ranges like 15 to 25 or more. The building of more muscle can also happen at higher repetition ranges but is best when exercising with heavier weight and a lower repetition range like 4 to 8.
Third reason is the building of strength. Building strength is just what it means, training to get stronger. That can mean getting stronger to be able to compete in a Powerlifting or Strongman competition or to be able to carry all of your groceries in one trip. Training for strength is best with even heavier weight and for only 1 – 3 repetitions. Using correct form is crucial for all exercises, but extremely crucial for heavier weight lifting.
How this affected my mental health
Before the workout: I trained on a Saturday around noon. I had a decent night of sleep, was up early to train clients, and had taken my puppy to her first vet appointment. My first week back in school was off to a good start so I wasn’t stressing about the first round of due dates. I was in a pretty good mood and had also already eaten two meals that day so energy was sufficient for a workout. Pre-workout, I was in good mental state of mind.
During the workout I listened to one of my favorite playlists, had my puppy outside with me, and though it was hot there was nice breeze. Playing music helps me get started, especially on days when I’m just not feeling it. It took about 10 minutes for me to get into the groove of the workout. “Getting into the groove” means that my body is starting to sweat, my heart rate increase, and I’m able to train with heavier weight. This is also when I was really starting to feel those “feel-good” hormones flow. I can usually ride that wave through the end of the workout, about an hour. The weights felt light today, which is a boost of mental toughness.
After the workout, I felt great. I felt accomplished knowing that every weight training sessions are building blocks to keeping my body strong. Feeling physically strong translates to also having a strong mental game and having a strong mental game provides me with perseverance, determination, and desire to be my best version in life.
For today’s research topic, I found an article called “5 Mental Health Benefits of Strength Training” written by Dr. Haran Sivaplan on fitnessgenes.com.
Dr. Sivaplan explains that lifting weights for exercise is shown to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety as well as improve cognitive function. The conclusion from a meta analysis is that strength training significantly reduced depressed moods among adults. Specifically, these benefits where pronounced for those performing low to moderate intensity, and most beneficial for those with mild to moderate depression.
For those with no clinical anxiety disorder diagnoses, another review of additional studies found that moderate intensity strength training led to small but significant reductions in symptoms of anxiety.
Weight training was also shown to improve and delay the decline in memory, attention and decision making in older adults. In people with mild cognitive impairment, compared to brain training alone, weight training combined with brain training led to improved cognitive function.
Have feedback, thoughts, or want to share how strength training affects your mental health, let me know in the comments below!
Per this blog’s disclaimer, statements made here are not for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. All the information contained in this blog is for educational and informational use only.