Stop worrying, go and start strength training
Are you a worrier? Often stressed, anxious or worried about things? Strength training helps, according to a human study researchers at the University of Maryland published in 2010 in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. Strength training with short pauses between sets is especially good for reducing your worries.
Strength training and mood
Strength training is not only the perfect way to keep fit; it also provides a range of positive psychological effects. For example, strength training has a mild anti-depressant effect. Research done in the 1990s suggests that the effect is stronger the heavier the weights you train with.
The researchers at the University of Maryland wondered whether strength training could also make people less stressed, anxious and worried and if so: what type of strength training is most suitable. They performed an experiment with 104 students.
The researchers got most students to do a 30-minute full-body workout consisting of chest presses, seated rows, leg presses and leg curls. The students did 3 sets of each exercise.
The researchers divided the students into 5 groups.
Low-Long 10-11 reps with 55 percent of the 1RM, rested 90 seconds between the sets,
Low-Short 10-11 reps with 55 percent of the 1RM, rested 30 seconds between the sets,
High-Long 6-7 reps with 80 percent of the 1RM, rested 90 seconds between the sets,
High-Long 6-7 reps with 80 percent of the 1RM, rested 30 seconds between the sets,
Low-Short did no training.
Just before and up to 40 minutes after the training session the researchers did the Spielberger's State Anxiety Inventory with the students. The Inventory consists of a list of twenty questions. The answers give an indication of how stressed, anxious or worried someone is. [Anxiety]
All combinations of strength training reduced anxiety, as you can see below. The most effective sessions were those with short pauses for rest and above all the training session in which the students used relatively heavy weights and took short rests.
According to a study published in 2012 in the Journal of Business and Psychology, managers who do weight training and generally pleasanter in how they treat their subordinates. Thanks to studies like the one done at the University of Maryland we know why: the workouts release them from their worries so they are less stressed when dealing with their personnel.
J Strength Cond Res. 2010 Aug;24(8):2184-91.
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