Guys don’t usually like to talk about having anxiety or other kinds of mental issues, but they sure love to talk about how big their biceps are, or how many squats they did at the gym. When athletes talk about how exercising helps improve their mental state, it’s usually coming from runners.
But here’s the thing: Hitting the gym might actually help you build a better body and improve your mental health.
Resistance exercise can reduce symptoms of anxiety in healthy adults and adults who have a mental illness like anxiety, according to a recent review of multiple research studies published in the journal Sports Medicine.
When researchers analyzed 16 studies that covered more than 900 people, they found that lifting was associated with a considerable drop in anxiety symptoms that was comparable to medication or psychotherapy. The effects were most pronounced in healthy individuals, but it didn’t matter what the subjects’ sex was or what kind of resistance exercises were done, researchers said.
Yes: Now dudes who lift can also brag about how their time sweating under iron is making them feel better, too.
So if you’ve been skipping the gym lately and have been feeling down, or just want to start lifting weights to improve your mood and mental health, check these simple workouts specifically tailored for the beginner: