For you folks who are suffering from depression you might wanna consider weightlifting…
Why? you may ask…
… because it’s a type of EXERCISE that forces you to push beyond your limit which is a good thing!!
Exercise provides a wide array of benefits to people. This is especially helpful to people who are depressed because it stimulates the release of feel-good brain chemicals such as endorphins and neurotransmitters. It reduces immune system chemicals or toxins that can worsen depression, as well as increase the body temperature which provides a calming effect to the body.
But if I were to narrow Exercise down, how does weightlifting help depression?
To shed some light, weightlifting (a.k.a. weight training) is a type of strength training for developing the strength and size of skeletal muscles. It uses a variety of specialized equipment such as weighted bars, dumbbells or weight stacks to target specific muscle groups and types of movement.
Some people think that weightlifting is only for the experienced athletes and people who wanna bulk up more. This is kinda true but weightlifting also helps immensely with your physical, emotional and mental states and well-being.
For the ladies who are worried that lifting heavy weights will make you look like Arnold Schwarzenegger… The fact is weightlifting won’t make you bulky, manly, or look like a she-Hulk. In fact, it’ll do just the opposite: It’ll tighten and tone all over your body, burn fat and calories, and shape your curves exactly how you want them.
You probably know the benefits of any exercise by now, but let me expound a little more how weightlifting will benefit depressed people.
1. Weightlifting improves your ability to perform ADLs (Activities of Daily Living).
Weightlifting is about building strength and muscles. It might be very hard especially for a beginner at first but with time it becomes less hard if not easier. It’s very rewarding if you can perform difficult tasks which you’re not able to perform let alone execute easily. Of course, it doesn’t happen overnight but step by step your strength increases and you’ll definitely notice it!
A look into depression:
Senior people often get depressed because they are not able to perform normal daily tasks which seemed like a breeze to them before. This leads to a loss of quality of life and a limit on the tasks which they can perform safely.
2. It improves bone density.
Peak bone density is reached around age 30. After age 30, bone resorption slowly begins to exceed new bone formation. Bone resorption is the process by which osteoclasts break down the bone tissue and release the minerals, resulting in a transfer of calcium to the blood. This leads to bone loss. Menopause is a contributing factor to bone loss. Other factors include a diet low in calcium, not exercising, smoking, and taking certain medications such as corticosteroids.
This is especially important to people who are age 40 and above as these people experience bone loss which may start to affect their quality of life. Ideally, you can start weightlifting before the age of 40 so you can precede and reduce the effects of bone resorption.
A look into depression:
Bone loss leads to bone fracture which can result from a minor injury such as a fall. The simple fall to the ground such as a height from a standard chair is enough to fracture a bone. Hip fracture which is one of the most common bone fractures is very serious as it can lead to permanent mobility problems which will make the person unable to live independently.
There is also a loss of height, persistent back pain and a bent forward/stooping posture if you develop one or more fractured vertebrae.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls are the leading cause of injury-related death in adults over 65.
3. It promotes fat-free body mass and decreases sarcopenia which is the loss of muscle tissue as a natural part of the aging process.
Sarcopenia is commonly seen in inactive people or people who lead a sedentary lifestyle, but this also affects people who’ve been active all throughout their lives. Additional causes are changes in hormone level, alteration in protein requirements and motor neurons dying.
A look into depression:
Muscle mass that we work so hard for when we’re younger decreases with age. If we don’t include strength training to our routine, it will all turn to fat!
The effects of Sarcopenia even become more pronounced when other debilitating diseases such as Osteoporosis sets in as the risk of falling and the subsequent fracture incidence occurs in a higher rate.
4. It increases the strength of connective tissue, muscles, and tendons.
This leads to increased motor performance and reduces the risk of injuries. Strong muscles help maintain healthy bones. It’s not the muscles which help build stronger bones, it’s the weightlifting that you do that helps build stronger muscles and bones.
A look into depression:
Much like strong bones, a strong body mass help enhance the quality of life of a person because it provides mobility and freedom.
The person with the most freedom is the happiest and the most fulfilled! This is because they chase their dreams with less fear and hesitation.
5. It improves your quality of life.
Besides improving your self-esteem and confidence, it also improves your strength and helps manage your weight.
A look into depression:
Some people become depressed or disappointed because they lack the confidence and self-esteem to carry on the things that other people do. This leads to poorer choices and decisions which make them feel more inadequate and regretful.
6. Lowers your diabetes and heart problem risks.
The World Health Organization reports that nearly 350 million people have diabetes worldwide and predicts that by 2030, the disease will be the 7th leading cause of death. You probably know that living a healthy lifestyle – including managing your weight, eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise and abstaining from tobacco use – can help prevent you from becoming a statistic, but you may not know that weightlifting plays a significant role in reducing your risk.
A study funded by the National Institutes of Health found that men who lifted weights for 150 minutes each week had a 34% lower risk of diabetes. Adding regular cardiovascular exercise slashed the risk by 59 percent.
Weightlifting encourages the growth of white muscle, which aids in lowering blood glucose as it uses glucose for energy. Mammals have different colors of muscle ranging from red to white. Red muscle, which uses fat oxidation to generate energy, is more prevalent in endurance athletes such as marathon runners, while white muscle is abundant in weightlifters and sprinters.
A study looked at what happens to arteries and blood flow after 45 minutes of moderate-intensity strength training and found that there was up to a 20% decrease in blood pressure – a benefit equal to or surpassing that of taking anti-hypertensive drugs. These effects persisted for about 30 minutes after the end of a training session and continued for as long as 24 hours in people who trained regularly – 30 to 45 minutes a few times a week.
A look into depression:
Chronic debilitating diseases are the worst things that can happen to anyone. It can impair or impede your quality of life because of chronic pain, inability to work or perform tasks and depression. Family, friends and health providers also become affected.
7. Prevents back pain.
If you sit on your couch or work on your desk all day, it can wreak havoc on your lower back causing pain and stiffness. Weightlifting helps strengthen your core muscles – those that support your spine – to lessen the discomfort and undo some of the damage caused by sitting all day.
A look into depression:
Ongoing pain prevents you from performing optimally in a task and it makes you moody and uninterested. This prevents you from engaging into and enjoying the activities that we love doing.
8. Improved balance
Aside from your major muscle groups, like your pecs and hamstrings, your body has various smaller muscles called stabilizer muscles. These muscles do exactly what you think: They help stabilize you. Although you might lift weights to strengthen your flexing muscles, each time you work out you’re also indirectly targeting those little muscles that help keep you upright and take care of everyday tasks such as balancing on one foot to reach a high shelf or stopping yourself from falling on a slippery surface.
A look into depression:
Balance and stability is especially important to older people as they are more prone to fall-related injuries.
9. It will make you mentally stronger.
When you feel stronger physically, you will also become stronger mentally. Weightlifting teaches you the skill of perseverance, the ability to overcome discomfort and challenge yourself. When we get into those very intense situations, we have a choice, we can either stop and return to our comfort level or decide that the discomfort is worth the reward. That decision of persisting through an uncomfortable situation helps us apply the same concept to other situations in our lives. 🙂
A look into depression:
You feel depressed the most when you’re mentally weakest! So try to push yourself beyond your limits and challenge yourself even when it burns sooo badly! The pay off will be worth it and better than expected!
10. You’ll look and feel better!!
Simply put, weightlifting is the best way to get a lean, toned, fit body for both men and women. You’ll feel more confident and ready to take on some new challenges and opportunities! Cardio is also great but without some form of resistance training to challenge the muscles, you won’t get those toned muscles in all the right places, the ones that give you shape!
A look into depression:
You’ll definitely look and feel better!!! 😀
11. It is a great way to take your mind off your worries.
Weightlifting is a kind of distraction that can help you get away from the cycle of negative thoughts that feed your anxiety and depression.
12. Get more social interaction.
Weightlifting may give you the chance to meet or socialize with others.
There’s always somebody who shares the same interests, ideals, aspirations as you… you just gotta search for them.. Who knows? They might be looking for you too! 🙂
Meeting people who are happy, friendly and positive can be contagious. These people can help you with whatever you’re going through one way or another. You might even get into long-lasting and great friendships! 😀
True friendships stand the test of time.
13. Cope in a healthy way.
Doing something positive and productive to manage anxiety or depression is a healthy coping strategy. At the end of the day, you’ll feel proud and accomplished that you’ve done something challenging, and learned in the process which will be great for you in the long run. Drinking alcohol is temporary and does harm to you and it will just worsen your symptoms.
Weightlifting has a myriad of benefits which ultimately leads to a MUCH HEALTHIER YOU, and provides exceptional results for those who have tried and failed at meeting their fitness goals with just diet and cardio.
Where and when to start?
It can still be a challenge to start or stick to a weightlifting routine. But if you don’t feel like doing it, just take the first step towards it then see if you can take the next step. Getting your friends and family to work out with you can increase your motivation to start. Recruit other people who are like-minded and want to work out as well.
Some additional info to get you started:
BASIC GYM ETIQUETTE:
1. Bring a towel to wipe down the bench or equipment.
If your gym allows chalk, be sure to clean it up!
2. Be sure to rerack all the weights and replace all the dumbbells and barbells.
There’s nothing worse than finding equipment that has some weird weight on it.
3. Don’t rest for extended periods of time on a machine that someone is waiting for.
Some people will be willing to alternate with you in between sets. This is called work in. Most people will be nice enough to share.. just don’t forget to ask nicely!
4. Leave your phone in your locker or car.
It’s distracting to other people if they hear your conversation over the phone. If you’re gonna use it to listen to music, make sure to keep it on silent/vibrate mode. Or if your gym doesn’t allow phones, you can invest in an mp3 player for $50 or less which will play just fine without tempting you to check Facebook between deadlifts.
5. Don’t be afraid to ask for a “spot”.
Spotting in weight or resistance training is the act of supporting another person during a particular exercise, with an emphasis on allowing the participant to lift or push more than they could normally do safely.
You can ask somebody to spot you but avoid asking every single time (unless he’s nice enough) every person you see at the gym as it will take a lot of time from other people’s workouts. Better yet, you can ask a gym employee to do a spot who’s more than happy to help you or someone who’s not in the midst of an intense workout.
Spotting should be done in case you couldn’t get it. You should use weights which you can handle and work hard and be more consistent to avoid asking for a spot every time. Of course, you can try heavier weights and ask for a spot but don’t be in a rush to be a pro at it.
6. Don’t completely use 2 pieces of equipment at once, and don’t be afraid to work in.
Only occupy one piece of equipment at a time, and if you are doing a superset, bring your dumbbells or whatever else you need over to you. If the gym isn’t packed, you can give your supersets a try. Just make sure that you let anybody “work in” to using the equipment in between sets.
Before asking to work in, ask how many sets the person has. If he has less than 2, smile and say “Oh okay cool. I’ll jump in when you’re done.” If he has more than 2, ask if you can work in after his set.
7. Don’t be afraid to ASK for help or questions.
It might seem daunting at first when you’re new to the gym, and you don’t know where to go and how to use the equipment but don’t be afraid to ask! Other people will be nice enough to help and the gym staff are there to help!
You can ask if you spot somebody who knows how to perform an exercise properly if he can give you some tips so you can incorporate them into your workout or do your own. Become familiar with the person first to know enough when he’s ready to talk or if he’s the type that wants to talk. Start by complimenting him after a set. If he seems interested to talk, you can go ahead and ask a few questions. Just don’t go bombarding him with questions. Some people are nice enough to entertain every question but you might become a nuisance if you go overboard.
Know the “atmosphere”. If it’s too busy, then it’s probably the worst time to ask other weightlifters. It depends on the person tho. Go for the gym staff instead and remember to wait for your turn if they’re attending other people.
8. Be courteous of other members.
Don’t sit on your phone and hog equipment or interrupt others mid-set. Keep your things tidy, preferably in the locker room. Don’t critique others unless they ask for advice.
1. Stay hydrated! Make sure to drink 8-10 glasses of water, a little more than the usual requirement because you’ll be sweating a lot more. Dehydration can make you weak, sick and less effective in the training room. Drink a lot of water during your workout as well.
2. Eat a small, balanced meal.
Eat equal portions of lean protein (lean chicken, turkey, beef or fish) and complex carbohydrate (oats, rice) 30-60 minutes prior to each workout, or 60 minutes after you train with weights. A huge meal is not necessary, just enough protein and carbohydrate to refuel and encourage healing in the body.
3. Keep a record of what you do, and when you do it.
You can use apps on your devices so you can keep tabs on the progress you’re making. You can record sets, reps and the weights used to help you stay consistent and motivated.
4. You can take progress pictures like before and after photos.
You can also keep track of your weight loss and weight gain, and measurements of your body parts as you make your way to being super fit. This is a great way to feel motivated and work harder!
5. Press play.
You’re probably going to feel less enthusiastic when you pick up your first heavy object of the morning. In that case, give yourself an extra jolt of energy in the form of your favorite tunes. 😀
6. Squeeze until you can’t squeeze anymore.
Wondering why you don’t feel it where you think you should after a certain workout? The answer could be a squeeze away. For example squeeze your glutes as hard as you can whenever you’re doing a move that engages your back side. This can work with squat or deadlift variations.
7. Lighten the load.
The first thing people do when they’re weak and hit the gym is test themselves with a really heavy weight. Maybe they’re trying to prove that they still have “it”.
Rather than adding more weight to the bar, try taking a few pounds off. By lightening the load, you’ll feel more confident and will be able to pay attention to what’s going on in your body. Try to squeeze each muscle as you work through the movement.
The more you maintain focus and control during the set, the greater your strength and workout gains will be!
8. Watch the clock!
A lot of us are guilty of doing this, rest periods drag on and on until they turn into chat sessions or mirror selfie time. It’s not wrong to take a breather in between sets but rest periods shouldn’t be mini rest days! xD
Just look at your phone or up on the wall… the clock!!
The longer you allow your muscles to rest, the more pump you lose and the less momentum you’ll have going into your next set.
9. Sit down.
If you typically perform isolation exercises (which emphasize on one muscle group) such as curls and lateral raises while standing, switch things up. Try doing them while seated.
Sitting will help ensure you aren’t using any additional momentum to help fuel the movement. You’ll immediately find that you’re able to focus far more effectively on performing a slow, controlled movement.
This goes in the other direction too. When you’re used to sitting down, try to stand up! Doing things in a different manner is a great way to give your body a fresh stimulus. So change things up but always be cautious. Safety is a priority.
If you take an initiative to do weightlifting, I know it will work wonders in your body and mind.
I know you can do it! Just believe…
Good luck and have a great day!! 😀
I’ve been getting questions as to how long it will take to get the tight abs or reduce belly fat significantly but it all depends on a lot of factors which I talked about in my How to lose belly fat and get abs! BETTER RESULTS FAST!! post like your lifestyle, stress level, hydration, exercise, diet, sleep, motivation, BODY SIZE (which is very important to consider as well), etc. If you work hard in every aspect you will surely achieve flat abs in less time!! You can actually see a great improvement in a week if you adhere to my tips.. You can achieve great abs in a month, 2 months or so but you have to be consistent and motivated! 🙂
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Here are some exercise equipment to help you get started and stay fit, or if you want to take your weightlifting at home. 🙂
Dumbbell Set with Stand, Silver Lettering
SPRI Deluxe Vinyl Dumbbells (Set of 2)
Champion Barbell Olympic Grip Plate
Titan Fitness 60″ Barbell Solid 2″ Olympic Plates Weight Bar, Bench Press, Chrome
Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbells 40, 50, 52.5 , 60, 105 to 200 lbs
Get ripped and build muscle fast!
90 Day Muscle Building Course For Beginners. Weight Training & Weight Lifting. Learn How To Build Muscle Fast. Includes Muscle Cook Book, Dumbell Exercises & Logs. Build Muscle For Women & Men
Below are some water bottles which are eco-friendly and BPA-free that can help you stay hydrated at the gym and for everyday activities!
Fruit Infuser Water Bottle BPA-Free, Leak Proof, Made of Durable Tritan. Free Recipe eBook!
Tritan Water Bottle 18oz 600ml, Leak Proof, Opens With 1-Click, Eco Friendly BPA-Free Plastic for Gym, Yoga, Running, Outdoors, Cycling, and Camping
Best Sports Water Bottle – 32oz Large – Fast Flow, Flip Top Leak Proof Lid w/ One Click Open – Non-Toxic BPA Free & Eco-Friendly Tritan Co-Polyester Plastic
18oz Glass Water Bottle MIUCOLOR – Anti-slip Silicone Sleeve with Eco-friendly Shatter Resistant Borosilicate Glass Bottle, BPA, PVC, Plastic and Lead Free