Strength training reduces depression

Recovering from an addiction is not just about not abusing a given substance, it is also about changing the way you perceive yourself. In particular, it is about empowering yourself to know that you can achieve your goals and live a fulfilling life. Recently, strength training has emerged as a scientifically validated method of empowering people with addictions, thereby facilitating their recovery journey.

Research has demonstrated that strength training reduces depression better than cardio work, likely due to the release of endorphins, changes in hormonal balances, and possibly because of the stabilization of neurotransmitters. Psychologists theorize that strength training improves people’s sense of self-efficacy, and this sense of mastery is a key factor in making exercise, and particularly strength training, so effective in changing people’s mindsets.

William Sturgeon, the owner of the gym Restored Strength in Minnesota, is a pioneer in implementing strength training as a route to recovery from mental illness. He says that “strength training helped me see how my behaviors and mindsets were related. I abused drugs to cope with childhood trauma, and I started understanding that drug abuse was really just a maladaptive coping strategy.” Strength training became his new coping response, and importantly this coping response was healthy for his mind and his body.

Strength training empowers you. But how? Scientifically, we know very little. The visual feedback from your body may be an important element of how strength training boosts people’s well-being, self-efficacy, and ability to leave behind addictions.

But strength training may change your mind before it leaves a mark on your body. It helps you leave a state of anxiety and step into mindfulness. Your breathing and heart rate changes, and these mental changes allow your body to kickstart the release of endorphins, neurotransmitters and hormones that we know exercise can do.

“Trauma is a situation where choice has been taken away from you. You are forced to submit to what is happening. With strength training you get to reclaim your body,“ said Sturgeon.

Source: Psychology Today

Source: Science Daily