Depression: Is Lifting Weights the Answer?


Approximately 300 million people worldwide
are affected by depression. For something so prevalent, treatment options
are sparse, with the two most common options, medication and therapy, being too expensive
for many and its effectiveness rather uncertain. There is, however, one lesser known and MUCH
less expensive option that many have attested to its capabilities. And that’s… aerobic exercise, aka cardio. Indeed, we have seen a great deal of research
showing that aerobic training can effectively reduce depressive symptoms. These findings, however, leave us wondering…
what about the other side of the exercise coin? For those that aren’t fans of cardio, what
about… resistance training, like calisthenics and lifting weights? Well, that’s what the findings of a 2018
meta-analysis study is hoping to provide. Let’s check it out. The meta-analysis consisted of studies that
employed a resistance training intervention while measuring the outcomes of depressive
symptoms. 33 randomized control trials were rounded
up with a total of 1,877 subjects, in which the majority, 67%, were women. The trials lasted, on average, 16 weeks with
an average of 3 days of resistance training per week. Depressive symptoms were measured through
a variety of psychometric tests, such as the Beck Depression Inventory and the Geriatric
Depression Scale. Overall, quite a decent amount of data to
make some decent conclusions. Speaking of which, let’s get to it. In their findings, 89% of all outcome effects
noted a reduction in depressive symptoms with the use of resistance training. Overall, the reduction effects were moderate
and significant, even when controlling for studies that had unusually larger reductions. And the cool thing is that these reductions
were not related to doing more work, lifting heavier, or even seeing actual strength improvements. Improvements to depressive symptoms were made
by simply having some consistent resistance training effort. So, in essence, resistance training, which
we already know can be great for us physiologically, can potentially lend a helping hand with depression. There are a few important takeaways from this
analysis to consider though. One, the best results were found when subjects
were supervised during their training. In a regular scenario, maybe having a personal
trainer or a supportive friend might be of use. Another takeaway is that, although resistance
training can be effective, findings show that it was not more effective than aerobic training. Either way, it’s still good confirmation
that exercise in general can be effective. And finally, although the far majority of
outcomes showed a reduction in depressive symptoms, we cannot ignore that for some,
resistance training actually resulted in elevated depressive symptoms. But, at the end of the day, the result of
this meta-analysis still positively showcases the prospective use of resistance training
in the matter of improving the symptoms of depression. At the very least, it’s food for thought
and in the future, if more confirmation is published, then it can be something to seriously
consider. Let me know what you think about the findings
in the comments below. If you found this video helpful at all, please
give it a thumbs up and share it with your resistance training-loving friends. As always, thank you for watching and GET
YOUR PROTEIN!

100 comments

  1. Cardio is more likely to put me into a depressive state (I am not clinically depressed) when I go for a run it puts all my bad inner thoughts on hyper. I go to lift when I want to get out of a funk.

  2. The best way to end depression is to make yourself busy! Stop being alone with your head. Get a pet, join a gym, go back to school, learn a martial art! Don鈥檛 be stagnant! Life is too fun to sit around all day in the dark

  3. I think that everything that keeps you distracted from the problems, at the end will help you with depression it is just the matter of finding that activity that you like

  4. resistance training in particular over steady state cardiovascular training is more optimal for decreasing anxiety as it suppresses the central nervous system.

  5. 16 weeks is just enough time to run the Juggernaut Training Method once. How can you not be happier if you do it?

  6. It helped me during unemployment/ looking for a new job. Had a hard time 10 years ago, could not get a job….searching my ass of, no chance whatsoever. Only thing had help me keep my head straight, was training. Did not have money for a gym, so I made due at what I had at home. Did wonders both physically and mentally. So yeah, I can vouch for that resistance training works.

  7. When you work out, if you are really willing to push through plateaus you need to concentrate and clear your mind, in other words, break the loop of negative thinking that spirals you into a depressed state. I found that to be the most beneficial aspect of it, along with the sense of accomplishment and confidence because of the fact I've done something awesome and that I'm that much better than myself had I not done it, which breaks the cycle of self-hatred/self-loathing as well.

  8. It helps because I feel so badass and attractive and like, powerful, after lifting…but is temporal. Sadly, when I feel super depressed, i dont feel like doing a thing…not even eating or working out.

  9. Speaking of depression. My period makes me depressed. A lot of elite female athletes are afraid of taking birth control in fear of suffering from negative consequences that may affect their performance. If I don鈥檛 use birth control my performance is affected when I鈥檓 on my period as I can鈥檛 focus and can鈥檛 perform physically as I normally can. On the other hand if I take birth control it may also have a negative effect on my performance but I don鈥檛 know which one would be worse…

    I am an elite track and field athlete and a video regarding this would be very beneficial for me and all other female athletes.

  10. I suffer from depression since I was 11 years old (I'm 37 now), and weightlifting has helped me significantly. I feel more enthusiastic and optimistic.

  11. Awesome video! Lifting weights has saved my life. It's enabled me to become a strong and resilient person (physically AND mentally). I always tell people that they should try it when they are depressed, etc.. and it's nice to have some research to back it up rather than just my own anecdote. Thanks for putting in the work and presenting it so more people will see this great data!

  12. pic fit聽聽聽 guy u should do a few on what each vitamin and minaral does聽聽 just to spice it up a bitalso do about weighted vests medican balls and a few other bits and bat聽聽 difrent yoga poses聽聽聽 boxing i know ur a resitance workout guy but its not perfect lol

  13. How long should you weight train before taking a one week break? I have heard taking a 1 week break is necessary in letting your body recover fully say after 16 weeks of training with 1-2 days of rest. I have been lifting in 26 week intervals or 2 rest weeks a year. Should I rest more or are rest weeks unnecessary to maintain muscle gain and increase strength?

  14. I can definitely say that going to the gym and toning my physique really helped my mood and depression. I was once a fat boi in high school, after going to the gym in college, I really became more confident.

  15. Going to the gym has done more for me than both meds and therapy together. So yeah, it works, and I'm also healthier because of it

  16. Does a pump in your bi and tricep mean that your muscle will grow. And that your doing the exercise right? (bicep curl and tricep extension I know it not related to this but just wondering?

  17. Depression is very common, but you should deal with it as soon as possible, good tips will be keep an active lifestyle and also for me cbd oils, they are really helpful!

  18. I started lifting weights around 2015 and that was one of the best decisions I have made in my life. 1.5 years ago I had a bad motorcycle accident that left me with fragmented tibia and fibula of the left leg. All those months until recovery the only thing that kept me going and kept me from being depressed was the thought of recovering fast in order to start exercising again. Six months after the accident and with titanium plates on both bones, I slowly started exercising again. Now, 1.5 year later, I have joined the crossfit community again and I couldn't be happier.
    Whatever the kind of exercise you do, as long as it makes you happier and stops you from overthinking or having bad thoughts, you need to keep doing it. Never give up no matter what. 馃檪

  19. Can you do some video about how much of every macro (proteins, carbs and fats) we need depending on the objectives, body type and some others things that may influence?

  20. I mean I lift weights like a fiend and have a pretty good physique, but still struggle with depression. Although the good physique does get me laid a lot, which does help lol

  21. YES!
    Before I even watch the vid. Working out cured my depression in high school. Been hitting the gym for 4 years now 馃憤馃徎

  22. Yes! I am an example of someone who had depression and solved it by going to the gym. Ever since I lifted and trained consistently, no more depression. Not only that, but I perform much better mentally as well.

  23. I have no friends to go out, my gf is the only person is there for me to go out and be with, I got fired from my job because I have stuttering and I can鈥檛 provide good service as a food runner, I鈥檓 unemployed for 2 months now, going to the gym makes me feel better, getting the pump is the best, I feel like being alone gives me more time to work on myself and makes me strong

  24. but what about the gains, I'm struggling with depression and went back to the gym. I didn't gain any muscles, and my doctor said it's because of depression.

  25. I made yesterday my record on squatting and now my penis hurts. I have no idea why. But that is an idea for another information filled animation!

  26. Dancing to my favorite songs like an idiot while no one watches always cheers me up. And yes, just like you mentioned in the video, some of us feel more depressed after the "happiness" rush.

  27. I have clinical depression and following a regular exercise routine and a healthy diet have done so much for my health, physically and mentally, that to list them all would take all day. Depression is a very complex phenomenon and there's no one size fits all approach, for me a consistent and balanced fitness regime has given me so much to live for.

  28. Yes it is100% i tuened y life 360 degress from being a homeless depressed junkie to be a stuper fit happy succesful man all thanks to lifting weights

  29. I feel really hyped during exercise and after going to the gym, but the days after are the worst. Being underweight (BMI of 16,5), vegetarian and probably lacking in proteins but taking supplements (magnesium, vit D, most of the B's, Zinc) I still suffer from post-workout muscle pain, physical and mental fatigue and also brain fog. So it renders me unproductive and feeling useless during 3-4 days… I go to the gym 2days a week with boyfriend, mostly strength training (3-4 sets of 5-8reps).
    I'm considering taking in BCAA supplements and B锚ta-alanine. Cause I think my body is catabolyzing, breaking down my muscle's protein's and glycogene.

  30. For me it didn't do anything, but hey, if it works for a majority it's at least worth a try. It may help you eat better regardless because your cravings can change.

  31. I'm one of those unlucky people who's depression is made worse by exercise. I'm SICK of people telling me to exercise because "it will release endorphins and make you feel better!"
    Bullshit. It doesn't work for everyone, definitely doesn't work for me.

  32. I鈥檓 depressed and going to the gym just works for me it makes me forget about it and just makes me want to keep going no matter how sore and tired my body is I just love it :3

  33. I don鈥檛 have the actual numbers on this, but at a glance it seems as if suicide rates are much lower among professional athlete as compared to actors, comedians, musicians. Both sets of people generally have a lot of money and seems fulfilling career but only the athletes lives revolve around exercise

  34. Training is my anchor, I struggle with PTSD and bipolar type 2, I know that if I dont get a weight training session in 1st thing in the morning, the rest of my day is a fucking disaster, weight training has been the only thing that's been able to center me and anchor me. May god bless the iron….

  35. I don鈥檛 know about depression but I鈥檓 recovering from a recent break up and going to the gym and lifting weights does make me feel better, at least for the time I am there.

  36. I'm bipolar and lifting weights helps me cope with my mania and helps me cope with my depression. It's a way of balancing myself.

  37. I go to the gym to lift 3-5 times a week, with improving form and gradually heavier and heavier weights but just can鈥檛 shake the depression.

  38. When I had been depressed I went to the gym and tried to do everything even harder than before. I had been telling myself that 'I can do it and I will do it. I will show it to those who are the reason for me being depressed.' and I developed much more faster and I felt a lot better.

  39. This study isn't just words on paper , This is something I personally experienced . Before I started lifting I had depression I even thought about killing my self several times and it was on a weekly pace and now I have been lifting for six months 5 days a week and I never got depressed in 4 months , I mean thank God my friend lead me to weightlifting.

  40. Lifting weights helps me release stress and anger and it makes me feel fit and healthy very much recommended and remember never push yourself too much

  41. ID be interested in hearing about the aerobic exercise benefits and studies that we're mentioned in the first 30 seconds, maybe a good idea for another video?

  42. Think I might have gone the other way, increased depression. So much so that I stopped going to gym for about 3months.

  43. Ive been exercising and weight lifting for almost 4 years now and i was depressed then and im depressed now. And ive recently quit exercising and cant get motivated to get back.

  44. It makes you feel better, makes u want to eat better, makes you more attractive and confident, makes you get more girls, makes people respect you more, makes you respect yourself! And can be therapy in itself to a stressful work week or life in general! I promise you if anyone sticks to a lifting program with some cardio thrown in as well for 1 whole year, YOU WILL NEVER LOOK BACK! And I鈥檓 talking 3-5 days a week every week! After about 3 months you will be addicted and after a year of it as well as eating descent, the results will shock the fuck out of you and you have officially become a gym rat! It鈥檚 as addictive as any drug out there to me

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