Working on your mental health can be an ongoing and never-ending battle.
The benefits of physical exercise on mental health are well-documented. And it’s an important tool sufferers can rely on to fight back against their struggles.
The choice of exercise is entirely up to personal preference. But, increasingly, strength training is becoming a more and more popular choice.
In this piece, we’re going to delve into the reasons why strength training can help you ward off depression, anxiety and stress.
Boost your mood
There are very few tailor made solutions for mental health struggles. Exercise, however, is proven to be one such solution: it’s a tried and tested salve for any struggles you may be experiencing.
When you exert yourself, your body produces feel-good chemicals like serotonin and dopamine. These chemicals provide a lift to your mood. Even if it’s only temporary respite for a couple of hours, this period of elevated mood can be a much needed refuge from your own mind.
Mental health issues can affect all aspects of your life. Even if your struggles stem from a problem with your career, those frustrations, anxieties and concerns can bleed over into your social circles and your personal relationships.
It can be extremely difficult to exercise your frustrations in a healthy manner.
You need to have some kind of release to get rid of all this pent-up emotion. For many people, strength training provides that opportunity.
Lifting weights can act as a form of stress relief. Weightlifting is all about continually testing your limits: gradually increasing the size of your muscles requires you to lift progressively heavier weights. And that can’t be achieved without steely determination and a certain level of aggression and effort.
It isn’t something you can do half-heartedly. Because of this, strength training gives you a healthy way to expel any frustrations you might have.
Improve your fitness and increase your energy levels
Mental health difficulties are often the result of a cycle of negative thinking and unhelpful behaviours that only reinforce that outlook. Strength training can help you break that cycle.
As well as giving you a release valve for any excess anxiety or stress you might have, you’ll also get substantially fitter and stronger over time. This will give you the energy and confidence to go about your day and keep yourself busy without lapsing into torpor.
Finding a community of like-minded people
Easy to overlook but just as important is the social aspect of strength training. Having someone to support you has long been an ingrained and necessary part of weightlifting.
Carrying out certain lifts requires the assistance of a spotter. If you’re struggling to perform an exercise, they can step in, take the weight off you and protect you from serious injury.
Mental health issues can be exacerbated by a lack of social interaction. The social aspect of strength training can provide isolated people with a crucial support network. Getting out there, talking to different people and working out will do wonders for your mental health.
It also gives you a like-minded community to share your successes and progress with.