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Muscle Evolution editor, Werner Beukes posing inside Body Conscious gym

Iron therapy

For me, lifting is like meditation.

When I start my week and I step into the gym, I know that for the next 60 minutes my only focus will be to lift some iron. I love the simplicity of this and regard it as a privilege. When I lift I don’t worry about deadlines at work or what I still need to do for that particular day. I find lifting not only meditative but also empowering and therapeutic. I am sure I am not the only one who finds solace in the weight room.

While the majority of fitness research efforts focus on the physical and health benefits of weight training, there is a growing body of work demonstrating that exercise also promotes wellness and mental health.

So, if you struggle with depression, your best therapy may also be to hit the gym and pump some iron. A recent study found that depressed participants who weight trained for four months, four times per week for 40 minutes overcame their depression without medication.

It is also a well-known fact that lifting weights releases endorphins, which can trigger an overall sense of well-being and happiness. Exercise is actually one of the best remedies when you are feeling a little blah.

Lifting acts as a coping mechanism to distract you from your anxious and worrisome thoughts.

It also helps to strengthen self-discipline. Think about it. You are doing something that is not easy, on your own and this discipline carries over to other areas of your life.

What if the gym becomes a second home?

Use common sense to decide when and whether you need to take a break from the weights.

* By Werner Beukes, Editor of Muscle Evolution

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