Working out has been proven to be very beneficial to those of us with anxiety and work stress. But now a new study finds that certain kinds of exercise can also help with depression.
In a meta-analysis from JAMA Psychiatry that used 33 clinical trials of about 1,900 subjects, they found that resistance training AKA weight lifting can help with reducing depression symptoms. Even more importantly, the person’s age, gender or the frequency of the weight training didn’t matter.
To give you some context the NIMH estimates that 16 million adults in the U.S. (nearly 7% of the population) had at least one major depressive episode in 2012 and according to the World Health Organization (WHO), 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression.
Age, gender, and frequency doesn’t matter
As The New York Times reported the benefits were still there whether people went to the gym twice a week or five times a week. It also didn’t matter how much the participants were lifting or benching. The most important thing was that they showed up and did the workout and that helped produce the results.
The explanation? Brett Gordon, a graduate student at the University of Limerick in Ireland, who led the study told The Times weight training could be changing the levels of the different neurochemicals in the brain which can impact a person’s mood. It could also be the simple act that people expect the workout to make them feel good and so they go in with a positive mindset which makes them feel better initially.
However, Gordon notes that the results of the study do not mean that resistance training should be used instead of medication, therapy or even other forms of exercise to treat depression.