Health is most often considered a blend of strength, stamina and flexibility. People hitting gym and devouring protein-rich foods and supplements strive for a bulky muscular body. In this domain, strength training has recently gained a lot of popularity. But, people often neglect one important aspect of being fit, i.e., mental health.
Staying healthy is a more holistic goal, which not just refers to being physically fit, but also includes the mental wellbeing of any individual. Having a healthy BMI and absence of diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure are merely suggestive of physical fitness. However, if you are struggling with depression, while adhering to your strict gym schedule, you definitely lack mental health and cannot be considered completely healthy.
Today’s fast-paced world with ever-increasing expectations has pushed many into the abyss of depression. As per WHO statistics, more than 300 million people are affected with depression globally.  Several surveys have suggested that women are at a higher risk of developing depression. Depression also increases the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, heart diseases and even death. There are several medications to treat depression, but unfortunately these medications may not treat every individual. However, according to a recent scientific revelation, any form of physical activity, including strengthening exercises can also have mental health benefits.
Strength training, also known as resistance training, weight training and weight lifting, is a form of physical exercise, which make use of resistance to make the muscles contract. These muscle contractions progressively increases the strength, endurance and size of the muscles. Adding on to the various benefits of strength training, recent research has proved the anti-depressant effect exerted by it.
As per a study published in the journal, Springer International Publishing, resistance exercise training can improve symptoms of anxiety and depression. The study involved analysis of 33 randomized controlled trials with about 1877 participants. The study concluded that resistance training significantly reduces symptoms of people suffering from mild to moderate depression. The researchers also evaluated studies to compare the efficacy of strength training and aerobic exercises. It was found that both are equally effective against depression.
To conclude, it would be apt to say that any form of physical activity can get you through depression. It need not be intense strength training or weight lifting. Going for a run, doing aerobic exercise or indulging in yoga and meditation can also help improve depression symptoms. However, a notable point here is that people suffering from severe depression may not entirely be benefited by physical activity and must seek medical help.
Nevertheless, physical activity can surely complement the bene fits imparted by anti-depressant medications or therapies. Eating right and sparing a few minutes for exercise can make a huge difference in your life.