Training for Mental Health

Training for Mental Health

Mission Monday Episode 19

Training for Mental Health

Mission Monday Episode 19

The last two years have been challenging for people’s mental health.

In fact, 2 out of every 5 adults in the US reported symptoms of anxiety or a depression disorder at the start of 2021.

Considering the virus concerns, loss of jobs and incomes, and lack of human connection, it’s easy to see why the last two years have been such an emotionally challenging time.

Thankfully, there are a number of proven ways to enhance mental health. Strength training is one of these methods.

Anxiety & Depression

Specifically, let’s look at two of the most common mental health conditions: anxiety and depression.

If you have first-hand experience with these conditions, you know they are very different but both have the ability to debilitate those who are affected.

You know that these two conditions are very different but both have the ability to be debilitating.

None of what we discuss here in this brief article is meant to replace your doctor or the mental health professional that you work with.

Our aim is to relay the results of published research in this area…

How can strength training help you if you suffer from anxiety or depression?

Let’s start with anxiety. The authors of a research article described strength training as a “powerful drug” for reducing anxiety.

In fact, the researchers said strength training offers an anxiety-controlling benefit that’s similar to what medications and psychotherapy offer!

Strength training helps those who struggle with anxiety for a few reasons.

Strength training offers a distraction from the thoughts and topics that might create anxiety. Also, strength training is known to be an effective confidence-building tool.

When adding confidence, people have less concern about handling future situations.

What about depression?

According to one Harvard study, strength training can significantly reduce depression in less than 3 months.

Strength training also reduces feelings related to depression, such as anger and confusion
There are a few mechanisms that explain why strength training helps depression:

  • Strength training helps people sleep better, which puts them in a better emotional state
  • Also, exercise increases the flow of blood and nutrients to the brain which, in turn, enhances brain function

In conclusion, If you’re looking for an additional tool for reducing anxiety, depression, or to boost your overall mood, strength training is a proven approach that can help. As always, look below to see references to the studies.

If you would like to learn more about our method of strength training, read about our methodology. If you are new to The Perfect Workout, try a workout with us and book a FREE Introductory Session.

  • Cassilhas, R. C., Viana, V. A., Grassmann, V., Santos, R. T., Santos, R. F., Tufik, S. E. R. G. I. O., & Mello, M. T. (2007). The impact of resistance exercise on the cognitive function of the elderly. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 39(8), 1401.
  • Gordon, B.R., McDowell, C.P., Lyons, M., & Herring, M.P. (2017). The effects of resistance exercise training on anxiety: a meta-analysis and meta-regression analysis of randomized controlled trials. Sports Medicine, 47(12), 2521-2532.
  • Panchal, N., Kamal, R., Orgera, K., Cox, C., Garfield, R., Hamel, L., & Chidambaram, P. (2020). The implications of COVID-19 for mental health and substance use. Kaiser Family Foundation, 21.
  • Singh, N. A., Clements, K. M., Fiatarone, M. A. (1997). Sleep, sleep deprivation, and daytime activities: a randomized controlled trial of the effect of exercise on sleep. Sleep, 20(2), 95-101.
The Perfect Workout CEO explaining training for mental health

Training for Mental Health

Training for Mental Health Mission Monday Episode 19 Training for Mental Health Mission Monday Episode 19 The last two years have been challenging for people’s

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Depression & Anxiety Reduced in 20 Minutes

Depression & anxiety reduced in 20 minutes

If you feel stressed, anxious, or sad during this quarantine/COVID-19 period, you are part of the majority.

Fortunately, you have the power to improve and maintain your own mental health.

Several activities have been proven to reduce anxiety and improve overall mood. One of these is… a 20-minute strength training session! (Come on…you knew I was going to say that, right?)

The CDC recently reported that the coronavirus period is adding stress manifested in several ways, including difficulty with sleeping and/or concentration, changes in sleep patterns, fear about your own and/or others’ health, and increased alcohol or tobacco use.

Here is what we know about how strength training can help your mental health:

  1. For people with existing health issues, a strength training program reduces depressive symptoms and improves overall mood (1).
  2. Strength training decreases the severity of depression for those with diagnosed depression (1,2).
  3. As little as eight weeks of strength training works for reducing depression (2).
  4. Training two or three times per week is shown to reduce depression (1,2).
  5. A decrease in anxiety and improvement in overall mood can be seen as quickly as five minutes after the workout is over (3).
  6. A single strength training workout can significantly decrease anxiety (3,4).

A few weeks of strength training, at least twice per week, can reduce depression. A single strength training session can elevate your mood and greatly improve your anxiety level.

More importantly, please remember to take care of yourself. Your physical and mental health are worth investing time in, especially now.

Strength train AND take part in other activities that reduce your stress and add happiness: connect with your family, spend time outdoors, create time for your favorite hobbies, and aim to regularly get enough sleep. This is a stressful time, but remember that you have the power to control your stress level.

  1. Brosse, A.L., Sheets, E.S., Lett, H.S., & Blumenthal, J.A. (2002). Exercise and the treatment of clinical depression in adults: recent findings and future directions. Sports Medicine, 32(12), 741-760.
  2. Stanton, R., Reaburn, P., & Happell, B. (2013). Is cardiovascular or resistance exercise better to treat patients with depression? A narrative review. Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 34, 531-538.
  3. Bibeau, W.S., Moore, J.B., Mitchell, N.G., Vargas-Tonsing, T., & Bartholomew, J.B. (2010). Effects of acute resistance training of different intensities and rest periods on anxiety and affect. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 24(8), 2184-2191.
  4. Broman-Fulks, J.J., Kelso, K., & Zawilinski, L. (2015). Effects of a single bout of aerobic exercise versus resistance training on cognitive vulnerabilities for anxiety disorders. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy.