Right now, there are more or less 3 million people in the U.K. struggling with anxiety disorders. Out of those only about a quarter are getting help. This news is painful, to say the least. The Mental Health Foundation puts the blame on today’s close-minded, inward-looking, discriminatory, conventional culture, which makes it quite hard to talk about your problems. Change is there, but it’s too slow for now. Thanks to all the local gyms, there is an alternate cure for those with problems according to Sports Medicine. Scientists have discovered that resistance training can greatly improve your mental health.
FOOD FOR YOUR MOOD
We all know, and have known for a long time, that exercise boosts your mood. Ask anyone who has hit the gym after having a bad day. We all have done this ourselves or hear of someone close who does it. Go into the gym and take your anger out on the workout equipment. But what’s new in this research is that it advocates that if you’re struggling with anxiety or depression, a little time spent with the fitness equipment is more result-oriented that conventional treatments like psychotherapy. Aerobic exercise has been highlighted before many times, but this is the first time that weight equipment is getting the limelight. And the effects are longer lasting.
Researchers are also saying that resistance training is directly linked to less shrinkage of your neuronal pathways, the information super highway that connects different parts of your brain and passes the signal between them. This tissue can develop holes and lesions as we age, and can lead us down to degenerative brain diseases like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s. But working with weights, at least twice a week, can successfully slow this process, protecting your mental as well as physical health for years to come.
Researchers analysed 33 different studies which studied around 2000 people and discovered that weightlifting greatly reduced symptoms of depression. Who knew that a squat rack is as beneficial for your mind as it is for your physique? Even better was that the participants found that their moods became better regardless of their overall health. No matter, how many or how little weight training you do, it will work its magic on you. No need to become a gym junkie.
“Interestingly, larger improvements were found among adults with depressive symptoms indicative of mild-to-moderate depression compared to adults without such scores, suggesting RET [resistance exercise training] may be particularly effective for those with greater depressive symptoms,” researcher said.
More research is needed to establish the results of this study. Whether weight training is as effective as or maybe more than current, conventional treatments and drugs, but this study clearly shows positive signs.
So, if you’ve been struggling with your mental health lately, pay an expert a visit. But, rather than a therapist, make an appointment with your personal trainer and get your gym gear ready.