April Showers Bring May Flowers

How Strength Training Can Boost Your Mood on Rainy Days

Strength training not only is extremely important for building muscle and losing weight, but there are also plenty of other benefits that you will start to see after spending some time with weights. It is easy to forget about the mental health benefits that exercise can provide you with. As we near summer and the weather is slowly getting warmer and sunnier, now is a great time to get started with a strength training routine to not only reap the physical benefits but also the mental and emotional!

Exercise as Prevention/Treatment of Depression

Many people struggle both year-round and in the gloomy winter months with depression and increased anxiety. Seeing a doctor or therapist should be the first step if you or someone you know is struggling, but if you are looking for a way to add to your prevention or treatment exercise has been proven to help. A meta-analysis conducted in 2018 reviewed 33 different studies that looked at the effects of exercise on depression. Both men and women were a part of the studies, and they were tested before and after the study. Not only was there improvement in those who already had symptoms of depression, but they also found that those who did not show symptoms were less likely to develop symptoms later in life.

The best part in these findings is that the type of workout and length of workout did not matter. As long as those participating in the study completed a workout more than once, they saw improvement. If you are unsure where to begin, you can reach out to one of our trainers who can help you create a unique plan that fits you and your life.

Benefits for All Ages

The positive benefits that exercise can have apply to you no matter how old you are or where you are in your fitness journey. Adults will see changes in their strength, power, and neuromuscular function according to a journal from the National Strength and Conditioning Association. “Sedentary lifestyles are associated with increased risk of depression. In addition, with aging, loss of one’s physical fitness is believed to contribute to depression (NSCA).” 

Strength training and resistance training specifically were shown in this study to reduce not only self-diagnosed levels of depression but also therapist rated levels of depression. In elderly adults in nursing homes, exercise has been proven to help with both depression and dementia. “Resistance training programs have been shown to have other psychological and behavioral benefits in older adults, such as improved overall mood, positive changes on confusion and anger, reduced trait anxiety, improved quality of sleep, reduced tension, improved vigor, spatial awareness and visual and physical reaction times, and self efficacy (NSCA).”

Young adults and kids will also see physical and mental improvements when spending time exercising. Kids who exercise and strength train will see an improvement in muscular strength, injury reduction, and an increase in confidence. Youth athletes and kids are at such an impressionable age. They learn from what they see and unfortunately with social media at their fingertips during all times of the day, it is easy for them to see misleading information and compare themselves to others. Although we can’t take away their social media completely and stop them from seeing the negativity, what we can do is show them how much fun it is to see changes in their performance instead of their body. It is so much more rewarding to teach a young athlete how to get their first pull-up than it is to tell them they need to lose weight. 

Teaching healthy and safe habits in the weight room will skyrocket their confidence and set them up on a path of success that they will keep with them for the rest of their lives. I like to think of it as setting up a savings account for your child. You want to set up their account when they are young so you can make small deposits as they grow up. Your deposits and the interest that will be added to them will allow your child to be prepared for making their transition into adulthood. The same can be said for building a healthy lifestyle. If a kid starts to learn the basics of safe strength training at a young age, they will learn how to make “deposits” day by day. Those deposits could look like playing sports, playing outside instead of playing video games, or understanding the difference between mac n cheese for lunch and a ham sandwich with a vegetable.

Students Excel in the Classroom

Students of all ages can benefit from frequent exercise and it has been proven that those who do have seen an increase in positive classroom performance. There is a direct correlation between physical activity and acute and chronic improvements in cognitive function. Another journal published by the National Strength and Conditioning Association quoted a meta analysis that reviewed 134 studies that showed improvement in working memory, goal-directed behavior, and mental flexibility. The physical and mental benefits kids will find through exercise are arguably the most important benefits they will gain in all areas of their lives. They have the opportunity to start young and improve for years, so start them now when time is on their side!

We all know that exercise and strength training are good for our physical health, but the mental aspect of strength training is one we need to pay more attention to. We have one body and it is important we take the time to keep it in good shape both physically and mentally. And when both are working at their best ability, our lives are so much easier! 

And don’t forget to follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/riersonfitness and Instagram @riersonfitnesss for more fitness tips and tricks. 





On April 18, 2023 this entry was posted in Health and Fitness by Jeff Rierson.