Any physical movement is good for you and the evidence keeps piling up. A meta-analysis of the relationship between resistance exercise training (RET) and depression concludes that lifting weights does indeed help your mental health. Because studies usually look at only aspect of mental health we need more research looking across studies to provide a solid foundation and that’s what we’re seeing here.
One thing I realized when going to the gym is that it took weeks to get that positive feeling from working out. Don’t expect instance levity in your mood or skills. There’s no reason to start at the extreme by lifting way more than you can. Start with lighter weights and slowly work your way up to whatever you like.
After reviewing the literature, Gordon and team found that regardless of age, sex, or health status, RET is “associated with a significant reduction in depressive symptoms.” The largest gains were found in adults with elevated symptoms, which gave the researchers hope that RET “may be particularly helpful for reducing depression symptoms in people with greater depressive symptoms.” They also found that supervised workout sessions resulted in larger gains than in unsupervised sessions.
As Gordon says, it’s impossible to blind people for this sort of research—you know who is lifting weights and who is not. As with most studies, the placebo effect could be at work. But given all we know about the benefits of exercise, this is a placebo with few side effects (overexertion and muscle strains being the most prominent). The benefits outweigh any potential risk.
Do you find it hard to fit the gym into your schedule and you just can’t seem to find any time to workout? Don’t worry about it! Instead of stressing about getting to the gym just change up your daily routine. One of the easiest things you can do to improve your fitness level is to stop driving a car and take any other form of transportation; and even if you don’t have a car then you can still change your day up. As long as you prioritize walking on a daily basis your fitness (and happiness) levels will increase!
The first beneficial thing about many of these alternative modes of getting around is that they involve physically moving your body parts. Yes, even taking the bus or the subway involves walking, standing, and balancing (using proprioception) that we don’t use when we are sitting on our butts in a car seat. Even using one of the car share programs involves walking to the parking spot where the car is kept and then walking home again after you drop the car off.
The second beneficial thing with these carless alternatives is that they have many deep health benefits like lowering stress levels, raising your mood, and perhaps even helping you get better sleep. But more on that later.
Some gyms are capturing the energy created by users to power the TVs in the buildings. But what if we capture energy from our movements throughout the day? That’s what one designer asked and she set out to examine what the future of wearable energy capture would look like.
Of course, her motivation came from the gym.
“I used to run at the treadmill at the gym, and I saw all these people running on belts,” Ahola says. “It didn’t really make sense to me that we were expending all this energy, but treadmills were consuming all this energy at the same time. So I started delving into the potential of energy harvesting.”
One of Ahola’s most intriguing concepts looked at turning fitness trackers into fitness harvesters. What if, instead of measuring progress by calories burned or steps taken, we measured our fitness in joules, the basic units of energy captured? If we attached energy harvesters to our running sneakers—or bikes—we could then deposit the energy collected from them at terminals Ahola calls “harvest hotspots.”
The idea has serious potential for gyms nationwide, to provide both cost savings and environmental benefits. At the Green Microgym, the Team Dynamo and Spin Bikes can generate 0.750 kWh a piece. And Mr. Boesel is currently cooking up new gizmos to harness the power of elliptical trainers.
Some may feel that it is outlandish for a 2,800 square-foot gym to be fueled by manpower. Mr. Boesel doesn’t think so. He states, “It’s just going to move the human powered renewable energy technology to the next level. We’re going for 100 percent. I think at the beginning, we may be 20 to 25 percent.”
The gym is not the first worldwide to have dabbled in human power. In Hong Kong, there is a gym with gadgets connected to the weight machines, where athletes power up the gym with every lift. The Hong Kong gym’s patrons produce enough power to fill its batteries and keep the lights burning bright. Other companies are also seeking to exploit human based kinetic energy, such as M2E Power, which is debuting a human based iPod/cell phone recharger next year.
Scott Young has seven reasons the gym is better than therapy when it comes to regular mental upkeep. Personally, the gym intimates me, but if you don’t suffer from my fear of dumbbells than try gym therapy. The worse that can happen is that you get a little more fit.
#1 – The Gym is Cheaper
A typical gym membership costs about $300 a year. If you go to a therapist, once a week for $100 an hour, that’s $5200 per year. If anything, the gym is a discount stress-reliever, far cheaper than paying someone to hear you talk.
#6 – Focused Distractions
Sometimes you just need a distraction. After a stressful day with work, friends or family, you need to take your mind away from your problems. Unfortunately, sometimes it can be hard to pry your mind away.
If you’re looking to be distracted, most therapy is definitely out. Talking about your issues isn’t a good way to take your mind away from them. But the gym can provide an outlet, forcing you to focus on something else for an hour.