Lower Stress with Strength Training

Strength training is the perfect way to counter the physiologic chronic stress response caused by life because it elevates the body’s natural anti-stress system. It also improves energy use, builds muscle, and makes us feel good. It’s also a great way to socialize, although don’t let that get in the way of training!

Another great thing about strength training for stress management is that it lets us get rid of our aggressions, work through problems in our head, while enhancing our body’s antioxidant system. This is critical to managing psychological and physical stress because it is this system, which centers around the activity of a molecule called glutathione, that will get rid of the negative factors produced inside our body when we are stressed out that cause damage to cells. Glutathione protects us from the ill effects of everything from inflammatory factors caused by lack of sleep, to those produced by excess cortisol, or insulin.

For example, one recent study compared a hypertrophy-type with a strength-type training protocol in men for six weeks, and found that resting levels of glutathione were much higher in participants at the end of the study than at baseline. Markers of inflammation were lower at the end of the study. Both protocols were equally effectively at elevating glutathione, and decreasing the physiological evidence of chronic stress in participants.

Happy Lifting!

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4 comments for “Lower Stress with Strength Training

  1. August 28, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    One exception to the rule – marathon weightlifting sessions. Keep your workouts under 90 minutes whenever possible, as you build up too much cortisol from the workout itself if you go longer than that. That being said, since the body can’t differentiate between physical, mental & emotional stress, you need strength training most when your life is the most hectic & stressfull – make time for it!

    • August 28, 2012 at 5:00 pm

      Good advice as always Doug. There is a limit to the beneficial effects of training. Thank you as always!

  2. Nathan Hess
    August 27, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    I totally agree with this post and know personally that without a strength training program the stress from everyday life would be traumatizing to me. This is also a must read for the significant others of someone in strength training. Reason I say this is because some have no understanding of the positive effects of a stregnth training program mentally and only like to focus only on the negatives. Like the feelings you get when you cant fit that workout in on a day other than a schedueled off day. Or the feelings that come with everyone trying to make you break that diet when you know its not part of the program. You know what feelings Im talking about,lol! If those people realized how much training helps you feel better about yourself and cope with everyday struggles they might reconsider before using the terms obsessive, selfish, and overly dedicated. For me some of my happiness is found in fitness and because of it, I feel Im a much better person, daddy, and husband (without any gray hair yet). Thank the Lord for Strength Training.

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