THE long-awaited return of fitness centres is finally here. Gym junkies are now slowly able to return to their normal workout routines after what must have felt like a decade of inactivity.

We see men and women doing strength training and weight lifting the moment we step into the gym, but have we ever thought about what impact all of that training has on our mental health?

After grimacing and gritting through the sweat and strain of cardio workouts, high-intensity interval training, aerobics, weightlifting and strength training, here are some of the gains you can expect for your pains.

Eases depression and anxiety

Lifting weights has its own special effect. Lifting weights has been associated with reducing depressive and anxiety symptoms. A meta-analysis of 33 clinical trials, with 1877 subjects found that resistance training has notably reduced depressive symptoms among adults.

However, it is important to keep in mind that feeling anxious occasionally is completely normal, and does not make one an outcast. Scientists from the University of Georgia in the US discovered that conducting resistance training among a group of women with generalized anxiety disorder have showed the best results in relieving symptoms.

Improves self-confidence

Weightlifting is more than just toning your body. It completely changes the way you think about yourself and see yourself. Another meta-analysis of 113 studies revealed that strength training boosts your self-worth. This means that you are able to walk down the road more confidently, independently with a healthier and happier mind.

Lifts mood

A hectic life equals stress. Weightlifting is one of the ways to destress and clear your mind. This is due to endorphins released by the body which acts as a pain reliever and happiness booster. Weightlifting induces feelings of accomplishment, which is also another ticket to lifting your mood.

Helps regulate overall circulation

While weightlifting gets your blood on the run, it controls your overall blood flow and heart rate as well because it broadens your blood vessels. Researchers discovered that weightlifting lowers your blood pressure for a long period of time after a workout as opposed to aerobic exercises.

Improves cognitive function

A study conducted by University of Sydney revealed that strength training improves overall cognitive benefits in the hippocampus part of those at risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Provides better quality of sleep

Studies revealed that 20 minutes of exercise a day promotes sound sleep. In particular, weightlifting plays a role in stabilizing bodily functions such as resting glucose metabolism, metabolic rate and blood pressure to aid in eliminating physical stress and facilitating improved quality sleep, that results in more energy and better mood.

Builds and strengthens mental muscle

It is vital to be 100% focused when you are lifting weights, especially if you do not plan on spending the night in a hospital or having to go to physiotherapy sessions for months. By doing so, your mind will not be able to find gaps in other things. Your mind will able to free yourself from anxiety and negative thoughts fogging your mind. As you are fully immersed in lifting weights and your mind is focused, it helps to build and strengthen your mental muscle.

Although weightlifting has positive effects, bear in mind that it is only an option to facilitate good mental health and seeking professional consultation should never be crossed off the list in severe cases.