Everyone knows that physical activity can benefit your body, but did you know that it can affect your brain, too? There are a myriad of benefits of physical activity when it comes to mental health. In fact, studies looking at exactly how physical health affects mental health have proven that being consistently active can ward off signs and symptoms of depression and make for an overall more positive picture of mental health. Vice versa, a healthy mental state can improve your physical being as well.
Improve Brain Function
Participating in physical activity, like super-slow strength training, is a great way to keep both your mind and body healthy. Research has shown that exercise helps release feel-good chemicals like endorphins in the brain. Participants that worked out for even 10 minutes exhibit more mental alertness, energy, and better moods. Strength training specifically has been shown to improve brain function and ward off diseases of old age like dementia and Alzheimer’s. In a study conducted at the University of British Columbia, three groups were given tasks – to strength train once a week, twice a week, or do balance activities with light resistance twice a week with the strength trainers focusing on working until the point of fatigue in the muscles. Before and after each session, cognitive tests were given. What the research showed was that cognitive performance actually improved by up to 13% in the strength trainers regardless of age. This means that our particular method of super-slow strength training here at Loyalty Fitness truly provides the best benefits of physical activity on mental health!
How physical activity affects mental health in seniors is clear; however, it also improves the minds of those at any age. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, following a strength training program for just 10 weeks has been shown to significantly improve depression. Researchers at Harvard and Tufts discovered that intense – meaning training to fatigue – strength training was more effective in combating depression than education or socialization. The study also showed that men who strength trained saw a reduction in anxiety, anger, and confusion. One theory as to why strength training specifically improves mental health is through the blood. Strength training demands higher blood flow which includes increased blood flow to the brain – giving this vital organ more nutrients. When you weight train, you’re demanding that blood rush to the areas you’re focusing on. That’s why we sometimes see “the pump” after a workout session. This blood is also flowing to your brain and can improve cognitive function.
Our super-slow strength training method provides all the benefits of strength training without the bulk or risk of injury. We focus on slowly working your muscles to fatigue which tones them in a controlled manner. If you’ve had injuries in the past, suffer from chronic pain, or are just getting back into fitness, we’re the perfect fit for you. Strength training is for everyone and the benefits of physical activity on mental health are proven. Contact us today to see how a personal training session at our Syosset, NY or Greenwich, CT fitness studio can improve your mind and body!