Can Strength Training Boost Your Mood?

At Persevera, we maintain that no wellness regimen is complete without an emphasis on strength training.  And while many of the benefits of resistance training are obvious, ranging from improved muscle tone and bone quality to enhanced mobility, stability and coordination, the uninitiated may be surprised to learn that resistance training may also help to elevate one’s mood.

Anecdotal Evidence from Our Members

We seek constant feedback from our members so that we can refine their training programs as they make progress.  When providing their observations, Persevera members often describe ways in which their training regimens enhance their emotional well-being: 

  • Improvements in energy level, strength, stamina and physical appearance lead to an increase in self-esteem, confidence and overall contentment;
  • The focus required while training, and the feeling of accomplishment experienced following sessions, together produce cognitive benefits, including an enhanced ability to manage life’s other challenges; and 
  • A natural high, likely a result of chemicals, called endorphins, released after weight training, creates a feeling of happiness, calm and relaxation.

New Study

A recent meta report, or statistical analysis of several separate but similar experiments and studies, introduced scientific rigor into the question of whether strength training can elevate mood, but with an even more serious objective.  The study of 33 clinical trials that included nearly 2,000 participants asked whether resistance training was associated with a significant reduction in the symptoms of depression.

Its findings, published this spring in JAMA Psychiatry, and reported on by The New York Times and, were promising:

  • Resistance exercise training was indeed associated with a significant reduction in the symptoms of depression;
  • The mental health benefits were essentially the same regardless of how often weight training was performed per week; and
  • The positive impacts were similar for women and men and young, middle-aged and elderly adults.

Your Feedback

As with most aspects of fitness, the emotional benefits of resistance training will vary from one individual to the next.  Your own personal experience can be just as—or more—important than the latest research findings.

Our recommendation?  Review the results of recent studies as time permits, but then schedule your appointment and come train at Persevera with precision and vigor.  And then you can tell us:  does strength training elevate your mood?