Research supports the effectiveness of resistance training in treating anxiety and depression

  1. Home
  2. BLOG
  3. Research supports the effectiveness of resistance training in treating anxiety and depression

A new study by researchers from the University of Limerick and the University of Iowa in Ireland has found that resistance training has an impact on the treatment of anxiety and depressive symptoms.

The new study provides evidence that resistance training has an effect on anxiety and depression and looks at the possible mechanisms behind it.

The study, published in the journal Trends in Molecular Medicine, was conducted by Professor Matthew P. Herring of the University of Limerick and Professor Jacob D. Meyer of the University of Iowa.

The researchers said they found “exciting evidence” that exercise training, like more mainstream treatments, is an affordable alternative therapy for improving anxiety and depression, as well as potentially improving other important aspects of health.

Dr. Herring explained that “symptoms and disorders of anxiety and depression are a widespread and debilitating public health burden, and successful treatments are limited.”

“The health benefits of resistance training, that is, muscle-strengthening exercises that involve repeated application of force to a load in order to produce a training response, are well established.” Dr. Herring, associate professor in the Department of Physical Education and Sport Sciences, Institute for Health Services Research and Center for Physical Activity Research for Health in the UL School of Education and Health Sciences, said.

However, the potential impact of resistance training in the treatment of anxiety and depressive symptoms and disorders remains poorly understood. In addition, the likely psychobiological mechanisms that could help us better understand how and why resistance training improves mental health outcomes are understudied.” The researchers say that while the available research in this area has focused on relatively small samples, previous and ongoing studies conducted at UL and with Dr. Meyer and colleagues at the University of Iowa suggest that resistance exercise improves anxiety, depressive symptoms, and disability, and to a sufficient degree. They argue that the evidence exists.

Despite the need for definitive clinical trials that adequately address limitations such as small sample size, the potential for neuroadaptation through increases in insulin-like growth factor 1, cerebrovascular adaptation, and controlled breathing characteristic of resistance exercise may suggest that resistance exercise may play a role in these disorders. The limited data available to us initially support beneficial effects on mental health,” explained Dr. Herring.

“We are very pleased to be cited in the promising literature supporting resistance exercise training to improve anxiety and depression.

Despite the limitations of the limited number of studies to date, there is exciting evidence, particularly from our previous and ongoing research, to suggest that resistance exercise training may be an available alternative therapy for improving anxiety and depression.” ”

“Another exciting aspect is that exploring the unknown mechanisms underlying these benefits may bring us closer to maximizing the benefits and optimizing exercise prescription through a precision medicine approach,” Dr. Herring added.

Prof. Meyer, co-author of the study, added: “This study lays the groundwork for testing whether resistance exercise can be an important approach to behavioral therapy for depression and anxiety.” ”

“Resistance training likely works through both common and separate mechanisms to achieve positive mood effects compared to aerobic exercise, and therefore has the potential to be used in conjunction with aerobic exercise or as a stand-alone therapy for these debilitating conditions. The potential for this is there.”

“Our study will use the platform established in the current study as a springboard to comprehensively evaluate the potential effects of resistance exercise in clinical populations, and to identify those most likely to benefit from resistance exercise.”

Read also