We all know of the physical benefits of strength training, but what about the mental and psychological benefits.
Let me tell you a story…
It was a beautiful, sunny day.
The wind was offshore and the swell was lining up to the south. Here I was, sitting on my surfboard in the lineup at a supposed-to-be secret spot out in the Pacific Ocean, thinking to myself “life is glorious” (like one does when they are sitting in 80-degree water in the middle of the ocean).
Unexpectedly, the surf became much bigger and the sets that started to roll in were huge. Before I knew it, I was in surf that was 3-4 feet over my head. The surf was heavy and there was a lot of current in the water.
But what happened next, I would have never been able to predict.
I noticed I wasn’t anxious or nervous like I usually was when conditions changed and got bigger. My heart was not racing.
I felt relaxed and calm. My mind was clear and focused.
Instead of paddling to get out of the water or away from the waves, I found myself paddling deeper and deeper positioning myself closer to the peak.
Before I knew it, I was in the perfect position to catch this gigantic (at least to me ;)) wave.
And you know what, instead of ditching out or pulling back, I decided to fully commit and GO FOR IT. I paddled as hard as I could until I could feel the wave behind me, like a freight train, pushing me down the face of the wave.
On that day I ended up catching my biggest wave to date.
This was such a memorable experience because it marked the moment when I realized how strength training had transformed me not just physically, but also mentally and psychologically.
It had taught me how to stay focused, calm, and determined. It had given me the confidence to know my mind and body was ready to take on anything. I credit my time lifting for what helped me build the mental fortitude, focus, and courage to act differently at that moment.
I pushed past my own limits and accomplished something I hadn’t thought possible before.
I believe this is the power of strength training.
Strength training will definitely transform you physically, but the often unspoken benefit is how it changes you mentally and how that shows up in other parts of your life.
It’s The Overflow Effect; the connection between how the physical benefits of strength training build fortitude and resiliency that resource you and overflow into other areas of your life.
But you don’t have to go out into huge surf to experience the mental benefits of strength training. You can experience them every day of your life by staying consistent with your strength training routine.
Here are 8 ways pumping iron can impact your mental health and wellbeing:
1) Jumpstart Joy
Strength training releases endorphins during and after you exercise, which is a natural opioid of the brain. It also can inspire creativity, especially when done outside or in nature.
2) Permeates Power
When you feel strong it permeates into other areas of your life, I call it the “overflow effect”. It resources you in other areas of your life such as relationships, career, and adventures. You start to say “hell yes” more.
3) Soars Self Esteem
A strength training lifestyle places your focus on getting stronger and improving workout by workout. This changes your mindset and creates a different relationship with your body. You’re more interested in what you’re body can do or achieve.
4) Effusive Energy
Strength training leads to more strength, power, and endurance which gives you an endless stream of energy. Your friends and colleagues will notice too.
5) Slash Stress
Strength training is also an antidepressant. Not only does it increase endorphins but it also increases norepinephrine that helps your brain cope better with anxiety and stress.
6) Sleep Soundly
Studies have shown that your sleep patterns improve with strength training. Your body will need time to recover, repair, and rejuvenate after all the hard work you’ve done. Sweet dreams!
7) Creates Connection
Like I already mentioned, strength training allows you to connect with your body in a different way, but also connect with others. There is a tight-knit community of women who strength train. You’ll find new friends who can cheer you on and lift you up.
8) Stimulates Self Care
Prioritizing a block of time for you each day will have a positive impact on your life. With all the chaos in our lives, it is easy to go days without doing something for ourselves. So go pump some iron!
What are you waiting for? Grab a kettlebell or some form of weight and let’s get to work!
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