There’s no denying the benefits of strength and resistance training. Strength training enables you to change your physical appearance
, makes you a more well-rounded athlete
, and is a great way to train while nursing an injury.
However, there’s other benefits from strength training that are less visible. Strength training not only makes the body stronger, but the mind as well.
5 Key Mental Health Benefits of Strength Training
Easing Depression Symptoms
Studies have shown that strength training at least a couple times per week was effective in significantly reducing signs of depression. Whether one is lifting for muscle-growth or using them in a HIIT
class setting, studies demonstrated an overwhelmingly positive effect on those who suffer from depression — for some, almost immediately.
Exercise has long been touted as a way to fight stress and anxiety (and nowadays, who isn’t dealing with at least a little bit of each every day), and that includes resistance training.
Strength training can increase your self-esteem and self-confidence. Beyond boosting your mood, feeling strong in your own body as well as seeing the physical results of working out can lead to a shift in self-image, self-worth, and self-satisfaction.
Improved Brain Function
Working out your muscles can indirectly workout the brain as well. Strength training studies have shown that lifting weights can improve brain function and curb the effects of aging on the brain but protecting your memory and learning ability.
For many strength training is a tool to clearing the mind and entering a meditative state. Strength training requires focus, whether it’s your form, your pace, or your reps (thankfully, Tempo helps you keep track of that, too). When strength training, there’s more to focus on than being in your own head and for lots of everyday athletes, it’s paramount to an overall healthy mind
In fact, Tempo’s coach Clarence reserves his Monday live classes, nicknamed Mental Mondays, just for this — a time to clear your head and be present. As he explains, it’s important to “take time in your day where the only expectations that you have to live up to, are the ones you place on yourself.”
“What is good for the heart and other muscles, is also good for the brain." Dr. Joel French, Tempo’s Head of Exercise Science says. “So, strength training and cardio both increase metabolism and blood flow throughout the body which leads to all the benefits above. Both types of exercise have also been shown to reduce the incidence of dementias and Alzheimer's, reverse depression and anxiety, reduce mental stress, and help you become more stress-resistant.”
How to Make Strength Training Work for Your Mind and Body
Experiencing exercise, particularly weight training, is different for literally every body. Knowing what works best for you both body and mind will take some experimenting.
For Tempo athletes, take the time to get to know the different classes in which you’ll use strength training. You may find that the slower paced Build classes that are based on Hypertrophy are where you feel most at peace; or you may find the intensity of lighter weights with heart-racing exercises the most beneficial. Maybe it’s a mix of both.
And also don’t feel that only strength training will provide you with these emotional and mental health benefits. Tempo’s recovery and mobility classes will also be helpful in giving you time for your mind and body to decompress and heal (we highly recommend some of Coach Cole’s breathing exercises). There’s no right way to take care of your mental and emotional health.
While you work to discover what works best for you — and even if you already know — find the joy in understanding and celebrating yourself beyond just the physical results of pounds dropped and inches lost.