Depression and mental health issues are among the most challenging battles people face daily.
Because of this, it’s important that adults find activities and solutions that can help them manage their mental health concerns. Some experts suggest that exercise, particularly strength training activities, can help.
Learn more about the relationship between strength training and tackling depression when you continue reading.
What Is Strength Training?
Strength training is a type of physical activity that targets the body’s major muscle groups. It can be done using free weights, resistance machines, and bodyweight exercises.
In this exercise, you work against an external weight or resistance to increase the strength and size of your muscles. For example, you might do overhead presses, targeting the shoulders, chest, and triceps.
Besides using resistance, you can also increase your strength by using your body weight. For example, you could do squats and lunges. You can also do push-ups, sit-ups, and pull-ups.
Why Is Strength Training Beneficial in Staving Off Depression?
When you exercise, you’re using your body’s major muscles. You’re putting stress on these muscles, which causes the muscles to adapt. This is how you build muscle mass and get stronger. It has also been shown to increase bone density, lower stress levels, and decrease the risk of osteoporosis.
But what does this have to do with reducing feelings of depression and anxiety?
All these significant benefits of strength training have to do with the endocrine and central nervous systems, which are both involved in mental health and chronic conditions like depression.
Exercises, especially strength training activities, can also help reduce stress. This is because physical activity produces more of the feel-good hormone dopamine in the brain.
As you create stronger muscles, your body will naturally produce more hormones, which can help you feel better and more relaxed. Additionally, exercise can help improve your self-esteem, which can also boost your mood and reduce symptoms of depression.
How Can You Get Started with Strength Training?
If you want to get started, you first need to consult your healthcare provider. They can help determine if you’re physically healthy for strength training.
Once you are cleared to start strength training activities, here are just some options you can try.
1. Lifting Weights
Lifting weights is a common form of strength training. You work against a barbell, dumbbell, or machine with a weight you’re lifting. This is a great way to build muscle mass, strengthen bones and improve posture. It’s also incredibly effective in increasing your overall strength.
For this exercise, you can use free weights, kettlebells, and resistance bands.
Push-ups are an excellent strength training exercise. They work your chest, arms, core and shoulders. They are also one of the simplest strength training activities you can do. You can do them on your knees or with your feet anchored to the ground.
Yoga is a great form of exercise for people of all fitness levels. There are a variety of poses and movements that you can do so that you can work at your own pace. Yoga is also a great way to improve balance, boost flexibility and strengthen your core.
4. Squats With Resistance Bands
Squats are a great strength training activity. They aren’t just good for strengthening your lower body and building your muscle mass.
If you’re not able to do squats without resistance, you can use resistance bands while you’re doing squats. Just wrap the band around your leg and anchor the other end to a chair or table to add some weight.
Strength training, incorporating weights and your own body, is a great way to get stronger while staving off depression. It improves your mood, helps you relax, and reduces stress.
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