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boricuarage79 11-09-17 06:19 AM

Strength Training For Treating Depression and Brain Health
When I prescribe strength training for my depressed patients, they are often surprised. They have never heard of the relationship between physical strength and psychological well-being. Most patients who come to see me, a psychiatrist, think that I will just give them a pill to provide a solution to their depression. Yes, medications have a role in moderate and severe depression, but often after a stint of medications and psychotherapy, patients still don’t have a complete resolution of symptoms. Strength training can complete the spectrum of total care by improving a variety of mood, pain. and cognitive issues.

Strength training has been shown in a number of studies to increase cognitive performance. One 2010 study done in elderly women showed that once weekly and twice weekly resistance training, both improved cognitive function as shown by a cognitive test of selective attention, and resolution of the mental conflict between naming colors and reading words. This means that the frontal lobe, the front part of their brain that is important for executive function and concentration, improved in function. Interestingly, they compared this group to a group doing just stretching and balance work, which did not see any improved function.[1] I have prescribed strength training and had patients come back with “I started with stretching and foam rolling with a personal trainer,” to which I prescribed:

A 2017 study done in men and women, ages 30–45, showed improvement in psychological health, as measured by a questionnaire after 12 weeks of resistance training. The questionnaire was a measure of each participant’s opinion on their own concentration, stress, happiness, and self-confidence. The authors of the study looked at resistance training two times a week, three times a week, and four times a week. All groups showed general psychological improvement after 12 weeks, with the group that trained four times a week reporting the most improvement.[2]

Next, there are many studies that show that strength training is beneficial to those diagnosed with depressive disorders. In one study on adults greater than 60 years old, 10 weeks of a supervised progressive resistance training program three times a week was shown to improve depression, as well as improve bodily pain, vitality, and social functioning. It was also shown to decrease limitations on routine activities from emotional problems.[3]

In a study looking at high and low intensities of progressive resistance training in adults >60 years old, a decrease in depression symptoms was more significant in the high intensity exercise group. The high intensity group was lifting 3x8 reps at 80% their one rep max, whereas the low intensity group was doing 20% of their one rep max. The depression scale assessed sleep, feelings of guilt, mood, anxiety and slowness of thought, speech, and action. Strength gain was directly associated with a reduction in depressive symptoms. Those in the high intensity group felt like they had more vitality than those in the other groups. Sleep quality improved significantly in all participants, with the greatest relative change in the high intensity group.[4]*

In the figure below you can see how much of a change there was in the high intensity group (HIGH), low intensity group (LOW) and general practitioner standard care (GPCARE) in terms of two measures of depression which were GDS (Geriatric Depression Scale) and HRSD (Hamilton Rating Scale of Depression).

Another important finding in this study was that there was an association between a change in depressive symptoms and gain in muscle strength. The graph below shows that as strength gains increased there was a decrease of depression symptoms. This means that those who had the highest strength gains in general had a larger decrease in depressive symptoms. This is why strength is something that should be important to optimize when treating depression.

In conclusion, training for physical strength is important for enhanced “brain strength,” and has been shown to treat depression and improve cognitive function. Those who had the highest strength gains experienced the highest improvements in their mood issues. Strength gains also improved cognitive performance. Therefore, strength training should be another tool used in the treatment and prevention of psychiatric issues. In particular, I practice and recommend the “Starting Strength” model for strength training due to the technical nuance and effectiveness that occurs in strength acquisition.

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Bouncer 11-09-17 12:49 PM

yep, i always have a high during and after training that last a couple hours. it definitely has a direct effect on the brain.

AvidFisherman 11-09-17 01:40 PM


Originally Posted by Bouncer (Post 786967)
yep, i always have a high during and after training that last a couple hours. it definitely has a direct effect on the brain.

I've said it before but the main reason I lift is it elevates my state of mind and relieves my stress and anxiety.

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boricuarage79 11-09-17 01:46 PM

Yes... it's a very positive effect on the brain..

To bad it only last a few after Traning

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domin8 11-20-17 09:16 AM


Originally Posted by boricuarage79 (Post 786980)
Yes... it's a very positive effect on the brain..

To bad it only last a few after Traning

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that's why you gotta go 2-3 times a day lol

Karen A. Callen 01-19-18 11:18 AM

Strength Training For Treating Depression and Brain Health Reply to Thread
There is a general conviction that physical action and exercise effectsly affect state of mind and nervousness and an extraordinary number of studies depict a relationship of physical action and general prosperity, inclination and uneasiness. In line, mediation thinks about portray a systematic and hostile to depressive movement of activity in solid subjects and patients. Be that as it may, the dominant part of distributed examinations have considerable methodological deficiencies. The point of this paper is to basically survey the as of now accessible writing regarding (1) the relationship of physical movement, practice and the pervasiveness and frequency of dejection and tension issue and (2) the potential restorative action of activity preparing in patients with sorrow or nervousness issue. Despite the fact that the relationship of physical movement and the predominance of mental issue, including melancholy and uneasiness issue have been more than once depicted, just couple of studies inspected the relationship of physical action and mental issue tentatively. Lessened frequency rates of sadness and (a few) nervousness issue in practicing subjects bring up the issue whether exercise might be utilized as a part of the counteractive action of some psychological issue. Other than case arrangement and little uncontrolled investigations, late very much controlled examinations propose that activity preparing might be clinically compelling, at any rate in significant dejection and frenzy issue. In spite of the fact that, the proof for beneficial outcomes of activity and exercise preparing on gloom and uneasiness is developing, the clinical use, at any rate as an extra to set up treatment approaches like psychotherapy or chemotherapy, is still toward the start. Additionally thinks about on the clinical impacts of activity, association with standard treatment methodologies and subtle elements on the ideal kind, force, recurrence and length may additionally bolster the clinical organization in patients. Besides, there is an absence of learning on the most proficient method to best manage discouragement and tension related indications which frustrate patients to partake and advantage from practice preparing.

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