A Benefit Of Strength Training That Might Surprise You

Strength training refers to using dumbbells, barbells, machines, and other gym equipment that makes your workout more difficult than using bodyweight alone. There are many benefits to this type of training, some of which may surprise you. One lesser-known reason to add strength training to your exercise routine is that it can improve your mental health. According to a 2018 meta-analysis published in JAMA Psychiatry, a review of 33 clinical trials determined that regular strength training could significantly reduce symptoms of depression.

According to the Washington Post, it may not matter how much you lift or even how long you train for to get these benefits. "Perhaps it might be the sense of accomplishment and confidence that comes from exercising, rather than the achievement of actual strength gains, to explain why study subjects felt better," said Jacob Meyer, an assistant professor of kinesiology at Iowa State University. While many forms of exercise can boost your mood, strength training may have a more powerful effect than others. "If the physiological adaptations associated with strength gains and muscle growth interact with the neurobiology of depression, then it may have different (and greater) effects on depression than aerobic training alone," Meyers said.

Strength training has many other benefits

Reduced feelings of depression aren't the only benefit you can expect from strength training. One of the main benefits is that it can help you build muscle and become stronger. This is especially true when compared to cardio-focused exercises like walking and running. According to NBC News, it is a great option for people who prefer instant gratification or have a hard time sticking to an exercise routine when they don't see results right away. "If you put someone on a walking program, it will take time before they perceive their body is changing," said Jeffrey A. Katula, PhD, associate professor of health and exercise science at Wake Forest University. "But with strength training, you can feel a difference in your muscles even after one session."

According to Healthline, strength training can burn calories more efficiently, reduce stomach fat, and help you appear more toned and lean. Building muscle can also reduce your chance of falling and injuring yourself because you will be able to correct yourself before you get hurt. It can even help you manage your blood sugar levels and improve your bone strength. You may want to consider adding strength training to your exercise routine.