Weight Training Boosts Mental Health In Older Adults, Study Shows

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Weight training is highly effective for reducing body fat, increasing strength, and building muscle mass. A recent study highlights these benefits in older individuals, suggesting that weight training can help prevent falls and injuries that often occur with age. Additionally, researchers have found that weightlifting can reduce the risk of both physical frailty and mental health issues like depression and anxiety in susceptible individuals.

Resistance training a non-pharmacological way of promoting mental health

The study by postdoctoral fellow Paolo Cunha, published in Psychiatry Research, highlights resistance training as a highly effective non-pharmacological method for promoting healthy aging and enhancing mental health. Research suggests that the decline in muscle strength and mass with age could be linked to heightened mental health issues due to physiological changes regulated by the brain, according to Cunha.

Group weight training provides significant mental health benefits, especially due to its social component. Research indicates that it not only reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression but may also be particularly effective for those diagnosed with these disorders.

The research indicates that the method of weight training can impact its efficacy. It suggests that older individuals should ideally engage in weight training three times a week, with three sets of each exercise and shorter sessions. Focusing on fewer exercises done effectively seems to yield better results. This insight is significant as there is a lack of specific guidelines for resistance training targeting mental health parameters.

Weight machines and free wights yields more benefits

The analysis reveals that utilizing weight machines and free weights yields greater benefits compared to solely relying on elastic bands or body weight exercises. According to Cunha, while there are no specific statistics comparing the two methods, resistance training with weights and equipment is more effective for enhancing the mental health of older individuals due to the ability to control intensity and volume more accurately.

The researchers express confidence in their promising findings, yet emphasize the need for further validation in certain areas. Movement, particularly with weights, is acknowledged as beneficial for physical and mental health across age groups.

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