How Resistance Training Impacts Mental Health

Globally, an estimated 3.8% of the population suffers from depression, equating to around 280 million people.

Resistance training can aid in improving your mental health or in preventing the deterioration of your mental health

Resistance training impacts several neurotransmitters in the brain. Here are some of the neurotransmitters that may be influenced by resistance training –

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Endorphins: These are natural painkillers and mood boosters. Endorphins interact with opioid receptors in the brain, leading to feelings of pleasure and reduced perception of pain.

Serotonin: Serotonin is involved in regulating mood, sleep, appetite, and other cognitive functions. Higher levels of serotonin are generally linked to improved mood and a sense of well-being.

Dopamine: Dopamine is a neurotransmitter associated with motivation, reward, and pleasure. Resistance training can lead to increased dopamine release, which contributes to feelings of accomplishment and satisfaction.

Norepinephrine: A neurotransmitter involved in the body’s stress response. Norepinephrine is associated with increased alertness, focus, and energy.

Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF): Resistance training has been found to increase the production of BDNF. BDNF is a protein that supports the growth, development, and protection of neurons. It plays a crucial role in neuroplasticity (the ability of neural networks in the brain to change through growth and reorganization), cognitive function, and overall brain health.

Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA): Some studies suggest that resistance training may increase GABA levels. GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that helps regulate anxiety, stress and promotes relaxation.

Aside from these boosts in neurotransmitters, resistance training can also boost your self-confidence, your body image, energy, and productivity as a consequence. 

To top it all off, a study was done – The Study of Mental and Resistance Training (SMART) study (2) – which shows resistance training significantly improves global cognitive function – these improvements were maintained for an 18-month period after stopping training. 


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Article Written By:

Dominic Nadaison

Team Trainer

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