As we all know, resistance training (aka strength training or weight training) is responsible for building muscular strength as well as endurance through the process of exercising a muscle or muscle group against external resistance. Free weights, dumbbells, weight machines, resistance bands, medicine balls, or the weight of your own body can be used to challenge your muscles this way.
Weight training could help with easing anxiety. This is according to a timely new study of anxiety and weight training. The study, which included healthy young adults, barbells and lunges, indicates that regular weight training substantially reduces anxiety.
A 2018 review of studies, for instance, also concluded that adults who lift weights are less prone to developing depression as opposed to those who never lift. In another study, women who suffered from clinical anxiety disorders reported fewer symptoms after taking up either aerobic or weight training.
Weight Training Can Assist With Improved Sleep
One way resistance training might be beneficial is by promoting better sleep. In an interesting study, young women with Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) were randomly assigned to lower-body weight training (resistance exercise), cycling (aerobic exercise) or – alternatively – a waiting list (the control group). The resistance, as well as aerobic exercise groups each, worked out twice a week for six weeks.
Both types of exercise improved sleep, especially on the weekend. Resistance training was particularly helpful. Short-term exercise training assists the study participants to fall asleep more quickly and sleep more efficiently. Improvements in sleep were associated with reductions in anxiety.
Aerobic Exercise’s Proven Assistance With Decreasing Anxiety
Exercise is also considered to be vital for maintaining mental fitness. Studies show that exercise is very effective at reducing fatigue, improving alertness as well as concentration, in addition to enhancing general cognitive function. This can be exceptionally useful when stress has exhausted your energy or ability to concentrate.
When stress affects your brain, with its numerous nerve connections, the rest of the body also feels the impact. This means that it stands to reason that if your body feels better, so does your mind.
Exercise – as well as other physical activity – produces endorphins. These are chemicals in the brain which act as natural painkillers. In addition, endorphins also improve the ability to sleep, which in turn minimises stress. Meditation, acupuncture, massage therapy – and even breathing deeply – can cause your body to produce endorphins. And standard wisdom holds that a workout of low-to-moderate intensity makes you feel energised and healthy.
It’s not just yoga which increases your mental health and well-being. Weight training has all kinds of psychological benefits. Your body will be inundated with feel-good endorphins which boosts your mood and decreases anxiety. The yoga technique of mindfulness is also at play when strength training: the intensity as well as focus of functional movements make it impossible to let your mind stray to anywhere but the present moment.
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