The days are getting shorter and colder, and motivating yourself out of bed or out of the house to get to your workouts is definitely getting harder. But moving your body in support of your mental health is especially important at this time of the year when we have less exposure to natural Vitamin D and fresh air.
Luckily, Amra Becirovic, a personal trainer at TNT Training in Paramus, New Jersey has extensive experience training women all of whom come to her at different points in their fitness and life journeys. Her clients span the spectrum from young females to pregnant or postpartum, all the way to menopausal or postmenopausal. One thing they all have in common is that after working with Amra, each of them has experienced the positive benefits of strength training on their mental health and “physical health.”
Whether you’re just starting a new fitness routine or you need some fresh inspo and motivation, check out Amra’s Seven Reasons (one for each day of the week!) to Strength Train for Your Mental Health:
1. Strength Training Lowers Your Cortisol Levels. As we all know, cortisol is an essential hormone that helps regulate the body's stress response, inflammatory response, metabolism, blood pressure and blood sugar. It also helps control your sleep-wake cycle. When you strength train, you calm your body and mind, enabling your cortisol levels to remain in balance and keep your body functioning optimally, even if you are coping with student life, a newborn, or temporarily subsisting on a diet mostly composed of whatever’s left on your kiddo’s plate.
2. Strength Training Releases Endorphins. When you strength train, you release
endorphins, the “feel good hormones”, which help reduce anxiety. So, when you’re
running late to pick up one kid and the other one won’t.put.on.their.darned.shoes,
strength training can help you keep the sweary yelling to a minimum.
3. Strength Training Gives You Energy. Oh, c’mon. Who needs energy? Only each of us who felt seen (and maybe shed a tear or two, no judgment) when we heard America Ferrara’s monologue in the Barbie movie.
4. This One’s For YOU. Please repeat this as often as necessary for you to believe it and also act on it: “I deserve this”, “I deserve to feel good and take care of my needs”, “I deserve to put myself first once in a while”, “A happier, healthier me is better for everyone”.
5. Strength Training Gives You a Feeling of Control over Your Life. There is so much you can’t control – the call from school to pick up a sick kid, your boss’s mood, your partner’s unexpected business trip, the fact that the grocery store has stopped carrying the only brand of cereal your toddler will eat. But knowing that you’ve reserved time in your insane calendar that is just for you (and sticking to it) will give you a feeling of control.
6. Strength Training Makes You Strong. Um, duh. But hear us out. Being a woman, being a mother, being a girlfriend/wife. It requires some muscle, both mental and physical. When you do something in your strength training workout that you couldn’t do before, you have to believe you’re going to feel POWERFUL. And you should. Because you are.
7. Your Day Off. There will come a day when you can’t or won’t be able to do your workout. But if you’ve established a routine, you’ll feel okay about it and you’ll know that you’ll get right back to it tomorrow. Or next week. Or whenever. And you’ll know that your body is stronger and fitter and your mind is clearer, and that fact will hold you over until you can get back into your routine.
Women are nearly twice as likely as men to be diagnosed with anxiety and depression. Part of this may be because women are more likely to admit to these feelings, but it just takes one look at our calendars and to-do lists to know why we often feel like we’re running and can’t keep up.
Listen, go grab a mirror. We’ll wait. Now, check out that lovely lady staring back at you. She seems like a pretty cool person – you should spend some time with her. Now, grab your aforementioned calendar or to-do list, and schedule her in. Start with one day out of seven, one hour out of 24. And for help getting motivated, call Amra B. She knows just what you need.