Exercise is a strong tool in fighting depression, and while it can’t get rid of your mental demons entirely, for many people it definitely helps. Now The New York Times has filed a report on how weight training can help many fight away depression, and why you don’t need to put in the same hours as Schwarzenegger to get good mental health results.  

 

As this report explains, “Lifting weights might also lift moods,” and new research studies have found that “resistance exercise often substantially reduces people’s gloom, no matter how melancholy they feel at first, or how often – or seldom – they actually get to the gym and lift.” 

 

Of course, exercise is a highly recommended regimen once you get sober, as well as when you’re working towards strong mental health, but at The Times continues, many past studies have only looked at aerobic exercise in terms of battling depression. 

 

A psychiatric research group, JAMA Psychiatry, dug through a lot of previous exercise studies but focused exclusively on weight training and depression. As Gretchen Reynolds writes, “What they found was that resistance training consistently reduced the symptoms of depression [and] if people began the study with depression, they usually felt better after taking up weight training.” Conversely, if people did resistance training and they started off with good mental health, they had less of a chance of feeling depressed later on. 

 

Interestingly enough, how much weight training the person performed didn’t matter. Whether they lifted a little, or lifted a lot, they felt much better. “People did not need to pack on mass or might to reduce their depression. More strength after the experiment did not correlate with less depression…all that mattered was showing up and completing the workouts.” 

 

And as the lead author of this study told The Independent, the people who suffered from “mild to moderate depression” got the best improvements in their moods, but resistance training “may be particularly effective for those with greater depressive symptoms as well.”