As humans, we have become more dependent on advanced technology in recent times and have therefore become an increasingly inactive population. Unlike our ancestors, the average person is no longer required to build their own shelter, collect or carry large quantities of water, or hunt and scavenge for food. This upsurge as a technology-based society has greatly reduced and in many cases, removed most physical exertion from our daily activities.
It is well established that physical activity, such as light exercise, is massively important to our mental health as well as our physical health. For years, researchers have asserted that activities like jogging, biking, swimming, and yoga can provide an elevated mood and ease of mind.
Previous knowledge suggested that these positive effects of exercise were only possible through sustained cardiovascular workouts, which may be difficult for many individuals. The good news is that new research shows that it is possible to achieve these same positive results through resistance training.
A research paper from Ireland’s University of Limerick reviewed dozens of studies to offer a full synthesis of the relationship between depression and weightlifting. This review covers over 30 clinical trials with nearly 2,000 participants. Researchers found weighty evidence to suggest that resistance exercise training (RET) can drastically improve the mood of those who practice this form of training on a regular basis.
Regardless of age, sex, or health status, this study found RET to be associated with a significant reduction in mood-related symptoms, particularly in those with advanced symptoms. This gave the researchers hope that RET may be particularly helpful for those struggling with greater depressive symptoms. The research also found that supervised sessions brought about a larger mental gain than unsupervised sessions.
Including weightlifting in your exercise regimen is a simple way to promote mental well-being as well as physical health. It also has the added bonus of tapping into your inner strength. If you have been feeling in a funk lately, try going for a walk, do some yoga, or take part in resistance exercise training. Can you feel your body smiling?