We’ve all heard it by now. Strength training can help to alleviate and reduce symptoms of depression.
Personally, I know that it does. I’m no doctor or psychologist. But, I am a person that has dealt with depression. I’ve been through bouts of depression for many years in many different degrees of seriousness.
When I was a teenager and I learned how snowboard, I began to feel differently during my time on the mountain. It was probably a combination of being outdoors and exercising. But, I felt good when I was riding.
When I began rock climbing, I experienced the same thing.
I didn’t know about strength training or weightlifting back then. I didn’t know anything about the correlations between increased physical activity and fewer days feeling depressed. All I knew was that these activities made me feel good. Depression can manifest in many ways, both physical and psychological. People can experience things like anxiety, sadness, hopelessness, loneliness, seclusion, fear, helplessness, fatigue, sore muscles, headaches, sleeplessness, and even thoughts of suicide. It can be debilitating and it’s not something that is easy to talk about. Not all people experiencing depression feel these things and not all depressed people will find some symptom relief from exercising and strength training.
But, I’d venture to guess that if you’re feeling depressed and you have the possibility to feel better, even temporarily, you’d want to try that thing that could help.
When I began to strength train many years into practicing my chosen sports of snowboarding and rock climbing, I had, by that time learned a lot about depression. My own depression and depression in general. I also learned that physical activity can help to reduce symptoms. And, things began to make sense to me.
For me, working out helps me to continue to feel better. In combination with therapy, these days I feel good most days. Physicality and activity, is definitely an impactful tool for keeping mentally healthy. I believe this whole heartedly.
When I’m exercising, I’m in complete control. It’s just me. My body, my thoughts. I’ve found over the years that moving my body, sweating, cursing, even hating every second of it makes me feel better. Every time. These days, I’m fortunately not depressed, but working out and exercising still makes me feel better. Every time. When I’m tired, or feeling stiff or sore and I go and move my body, get my heart rate up a little, sweat a little, turn off any distracting thoughts for a little while, I get the opportunity to re-set. It’s like flipping a switch in my brain. Oftentimes a switch that I didn’t even realize needed switching.
So, the science is there. Which is awesome. But most of us don’t really care what the science says. We just want to feel better. All I know for sure is that I feel better when I am exercising regularly. And I’m stoked that I have something in my life that not only keeps me strong, healthy and feeling good but also puts a smile on face.