Most people don’t want to know me if I’ve missed my workout sesh, whether it be yoga, cardio, or lifting. To say I get a little cranky is an understatement. So, it was no surprise to me that exercise, in general, can lift your mood while you work on lifting your buttocks. And while all types of exercise can release those feel-good endorphins, science now tells us that lifting weights can lift your mood better than all the others.
Strength training has been linked to better sleep and lower anxiety levels, but the link between strength training and improved mood has not been examined until now. A review published in JAMA Psychiatry explores this link for the first time. What’s great about this review is that it gathers and studies feedback from many randomized trials that included all types of exercisers.
Science Says Yes, I Say Yay!
I’m going to get a little science-y here but bear with me. The key to establishing a baseline of depressive symptoms before and after strength training revealed by this review is the varied makeup of the control group. There were two control groups, one consisting of people who were already exercisers and one with people who weren’t.
Another feature of the review is that it analyzes the results of 33 trials that demonstrated the positive effects of strength training and used statistical methods to tease out the results. The review reveals that regardless of the amount of weight lifted and the age of participants, a decrease in depression symptoms occurred.
What If You’re Not Experienced at Lifting?
And what about skill level: no worries there. The review concluded that more strength didn’t mean a more significant reduction in symptoms. Even lifting light weights can lift your mood. What made a difference was showing up and giving it your all.
How to Start Weight Training
If you are already lifting weights or strength training, you’re probably patting yourself on the back right now. Or, you may be thinking, “Lifting weights sounds promising, but where to start?” Don’t worry, GR8NESS community. I won’t leave you in the lurch. If you are new to weight training, check out this weight-lifting guide for beginners. If you hate weights, try these tips for people who hate weights. Start slowly and mind your form. Warm-up and cool down, and enjoy the rush of endorphins.