Our sedentary lifestyle takes its toll. We barely move, relying on delivery services, video games, and online jobs. It definitely affects our bodies, and it appears that it is not only the body that is destroyed by our failure to maintain a decent level of physical activity, but also the mind. To counter sedentary lifestyle-induced depression, you can exercise, and weightlifting has recently been praised as one of the good options.
Image Credit: shutterstock.com / Jacob Lund
Digital devices and networks permeate our modern world rendering it difficult to find an opportunity to move. Well, not an opportunity–there are always plenty of opportunities to go somewhere and do something useful–but a reason: why bothering to keep yourself busy doing regular physical activity when you can order food delivery, watch your fave TV series, and even study remotely? We are bound to our smartphones and spend hours on end hunched over screens boasting myriads of colors but failing to convey what reality is actually like.
Remember the character played by Audrey Hepburn in the Pygmalion movie?
“Move yer bloomin’ arse!”
Pounds of calmness
While any physical activity will do, including swimming, running, cycling, and, well, the ubiquitous yoga (though the praises are justified), finding something to your liking can turn out to be a challenge. Depression and anxiety can stem from different problems, but lack of movement is one of the key contributors. That is why choosing something, at least walking, is essential.
A recent study carried out by a team of scientist from the University of Limerick revealed that weightlifting deserves to be added to the list of activities that appear to be effective at treating depression. They analyzed and reviewed 33 clinical trials (randomized ones), in which 1,877 volunteers took part. Having looked into the issue of whether there is an association between doing sports and depression, they came to the conclusion that gym membership can be an option too: medications are used in most cases, but they are not always effective, and many of them lead to addiction and side effects. Psychotherapy is expensive; besides, it takes a really good specialist who knows their field inside out to help tackle the problem that is eating you, and it’s not easy to find a pro. Exercising is more affordable and can be beneficial for overall health, the body, and the mind.
According to the study findings, depressive symptoms can be reduced by means of resistance exercise training, regardless of gender, age, and even health. It is worthy of note that patients with symptoms that were more elevated than average benefited from exercising more than others. Besides, if your training sessions are supervised by a professional, they are more beneficial.
Introduce more weight into your life
The study is limited in that it is impossible to make such a research double-blinded: you cannot make yourself or the participant forget that they are lifting weights. That being said, placebo could also contribute to the effect. However, exercising is not the same as taking experimental medications, and that is why it is worth a try even if it does not help alleviate depression symptoms in a particular case.
It also does not mean that you should start to lift weights in a gym, especially if you are a woman. People have always been carrying weights, be it a buckle of water from a distant well, or constructing houses, or gathering firewood. It’s just that nowadays most people in developed countries have deprived themselves of the opportunity to do things like these, and diseases and depression follow due to lack of movement. It’s not that it is the only reason, but it is a major contributor.
For many, the most difficult part is to start moving. Once you’ve started, it gets easier. Give it a try.