Resistance Training Can Help Fight Depression

weightlifting depression

Study shows resistance training can help combat depression


For years, health experts have recommended exercise to help minimize the effects of depression. But the advice has always been somewhat ambigous. Now, a new study suggests resistance training is the way forward.


If you have ever struggled with depression, you’ve probably been told by your doctor (or someone close) that exercise is a great way to feel better.

Missing from the equation is what type of exercise to do? For example, should you take up jogging or start skipping rope? Well, according to a new study appearing in JAMA Psychiatry, the answer to that question appears to be resistance training.

In other words – start lifting weights.

For this study, investigators assessed 33 past studies totaling 1877 participants. Using a meta-analysis, they found that people who regularly hit the weights experienced a powerful anti-depressant effect; offering similar mood improvement benefits as going out on a run.

Now what’s important to know is you don’t have to be a bodybuilder to receive a boost in mood. Instead, simple resistance training on a regular basis may be all that’s needed. We’re talking about moderate strength training – like a few days a week.

Additionally, it appears weight training may offer the most benefits to folks who have a mild to moderate type of depression. Moreover, muscle growth doesn’t have to occur in order to feel better. In other words, resistance training provided a natural form of relief to participants – regardless of gains.

The findings of this study are extremely important because on average, something like 10% of men in the United States struggle with depression.

Worse – guys typically aren’t the best when it comes to talking about emotions.

So, for what it is worth – resistance training may offer a natural way to ameliorate symptoms. Obviously, it is important to talk to your doctor first before beginning any strenuous physical activities – particularly if you have a pre-existing health condition. That said, curling iron may be a great way to deal with the blues.

Do you lift weights to help push back against depression? If so, has this been effective?

About John D. Moore 391 Articles
Dr. John Moore is a licensed counselor and Editor-in-Chief of Guy Counseling. A journalist and blogger, he writes about a variety of topics related to wellness. His interests include technology, outdoor activities, science, and men's health. Check out his show --> The Men's Self Help Podcast