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Depression and Strength Training

Pumping iron might inflate not only your muscles, but also your mood, says a study in published in the June issue of JAMA Psychiatry.

The study’s authors came to this conclusion after examining the results of 33 randomized clinical trials involving more than 1,800 people. They found that people with mild to moderate depression who performed resistance training two or more days a week saw “significant” reductions in their symptoms, compared with people who did not. The findings also suggested that resistance exercises may be even more beneficial for those with more severe depressive symptoms.

In addition, study authors also found that people got a mood boost from resistance training, regardless of their health status, how often they performed resistance training, and whether or not they actually got stronger as a result of their workouts.

The findings seem to support the idea that resistance training — which the study authors defined as exercises designed to increase muscle mass, strength, endurance, and power — can be used to help improve mood, when performed either alone or in combination with other strategies.

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