Strength training is not only good for physical health, but it also helps effectively reduce anxiety and depression. Appropriate training units could therefore make a significant contribution to therapy.
A new study involving experts from the University of Limerick in Ireland analyzed the benefits of resistance training on anxiety, depressive symptoms and depressive disorders and examined possible underlying mechanisms. The results are published in the English-language journal “Trends in Molecular Medicine”.
Does strength training affect your mental health?
The benefits of resistance training for physical health are already well established. “However, the possible influence of strength training on the treatment of anxiety and depressive symptoms and disorders is still relatively little researched,” reports study author Professor Matthew P. Herring in a press release.
In addition, the psychobiological mechanisms through which strength training can improve mental health are not yet sufficiently understood. And although anxiety, depressive symptoms and depressive disorders are widespread, treatment success remains limited, says the doctor.
Strength training as therapy?
Resistance training could provide an accessible way to relieve anxiety and depression while improving other aspects of health, according to the researchers.
The studies available so far on this topic suggest that strength training can reduce anxiety, depressive symptoms and depressive disorders, the team reports.
Although the available studies are limited, they also provide evidence about the mechanisms underlying the positive effects of resistance training on mental health.
This also includes increased insulin-like growth factor-1, cerebrovascular adaptations, and neural adaptations brought about by controlled breathing during resistance training, Dr. explained. Herring.
“Notwithstanding the limitations of the limited number of studies to date, there is exciting evidence to suggest that resistance training may be an accessible alternative therapy for improving anxiety and depression,” emphasizes Professor Herring.
Further studies now need to evaluate whether strength training can be a helpful approach to treating depression and anxiety. It should also be checked whether a combination of strength and endurance training or strength training alone makes sense for treating depression. (as)