When we talk about the benefits of resistance training, or even just exercise in general, we tend to focus on the physical changes that take place - whether that be weight loss, muscle growth, or improved performance. However, are you aware that the first result seen from resistance training is actually a positive change in mental health?
Yes, this means that the first, and arguably one of the most important, changes isn’t even visible to your own eye. But we assure you that this change will not go unnoticed. When I start training clients that were not participating in regular resistance training before working with me they tend to report feeling better overall within even just two weeks! The positive change in mental state can be seen as feeling more energetic, happier, more motivated, and even less stressed/anxious.
The first internal benefit from resistance training people often notice is increased energy. Resistance training boosts the circulation of oxygen within the body, resulting in more efficient energy production. This happens because oxygen is used in the last step of the Electron Transport Chain (a fancy name for an energy production system in the body) to move electrons and create ATP (another fancy name for energy). Therefore, if oxygen is circulating through the blood more efficiently, then energy is being produced more efficiently as well. This increased circulation of oxygen in the body is usually seen between 2-4 weeks after beginning resistance training.
Additionally, increased resistance training will create better sleep patterns. A 2017 John Hopkins study found that people who participated in regular muscle-building exercises over the course of a year slept 17 minutes longer than the group that did not. One of the reasons this increase in sleep quality and quantity takes place is the muscle fatigue your body experiences. When your body is building lean muscle mass your metabolic rate is increased, which can result in more fatigue. Also, the body requires a higher quality of sleep to assist in the recovery process, which makes you sleep that much better and deeper. Although this is a mental benefit, increased sleep quality and quantity can lead to positive physical changes over time as well.
Did you know that strength training can quite literally make you happier? Strength training releases endorphins, which trigger positive feelings within the body, before and after exercise! Building strength and achieving long-term and short-term results will encourage higher self-esteem and improve body-image. Accomplishing your goals and seeing the pay-off from your hard work also increases your motivation to continue setting and achieving more goals. Furthermore, strength training increases norepinephrine, a hormone that can help improve your body’s stress response. In other words, just by performing a squat, you can help your body reduce stress and anxiety symptoms! Decreased stress and anxiety can obviously lead to increased happiness, but also more success in the gym, at home, or at work!
Lastly, strength training can be performed alone or with friends. If you find yourself wanting more alone time, this is a perfect way to achieve that, even if it is just 30 minutes per day. Finding this time to focus on you and prioritize your own health and wellness will have a positive impact on multiple categories in your life. The gym can be a very therapeutic place for people to let out any stressors or frustrations and also find a moment of calm within their day. However, if you love to make new connections with others, exercising is also a way to meet others who share common values with you! Find yourself a workout partner that shares this same interest and plan on utilizing your gym sessions to connect and socialize. Having another person to hold you accountable and share successes with is also very beneficial!
The physical benefits of resistance training go without being said, but these internal benefits can also increase your quality of life significantly. If you are not currently participating in regular resistance training now is the time to start!
If you need some assistance in getting started please reach out to our team!