6 Ways Weight Lifting Makes You Happy

Most people get into weight lifting to reach a physical goal. They want giant biceps, a perfect six pack, or broad shoulders. Other people hit the gym for health reasons. They want a healthier heart, stronger bones, or to decrease their risk of disease. There’s no denying that lifting weights will build strength, transform your physical appearance, and keep you fit and healthy, but what about the emotional side of weight lifting? Can thrusts and squat actually lead to a happier life?

If you’re looking for a well-founded reason to get off the couch and grab your gym bag, the psychological benefits of weight training may inspire you. Dedicating time each day to weight lifting will not only improve your physical health, but has the power to transform your mental and emotional health.

1. Beat the blues

Man at gym looking happy

Hit the gym for a mood boost. | iStock.com

Need an instant mental and mood boost? Schedule a gym date. Wake up feeling down and can’t shake it? Do a quick workout on your lunch break. Training may seem like the last thing you want to do when you’re feeling blue, but a Harvard study found that 10 weeks of strength training actually reduced clinical depression symptoms more successfully than counseling. Whether you suffer from depression or just deal with the occasional blues, hitting the gym may be the medicine you need to shift your focus and reset the day.

2. Improve self-esteem

man lifting weights as he looks out the window

You’ll improve your self-esteem. | iStock.com

Whether you think you’re too fat, too skinny, or just embarrassingly weak, weight lifting provides you with the power to drastically change your physical appearance. With some perseverance and hard work, you can change your physical body to get the results you want. This has a deeper impact on your emotional and psychological state. By reaching your physical goals, you’ll feel comfortable in your own skin and confident about your appearance, which in turn, skyrockets your self-esteem. When you’re physically the best version of yourself, you’ll discover a certain self-assurance that bleeds into the way you live your life. Not only will you look and feel great, but by challenging yourself to lift heavy weights or by pushing yourself through grueling training sessions, you’ll become confident in yourself.

3. Dedication

young man building muscle at the gym

You need to be dedicated to see a real difference. | iStock.com/Antonio_Diaz

When you delve into the world of strength training, it can be all-consuming. It’s more than hitting the gym a few times a week. True transformation requires dedication. To succeed, your time management skills will be tested. Suddenly, an hour or more of your day will need to be spent at the gym, which may require an early morning start or late night spend with barbells instead of your favorite TV show. The way you eat will change as you focus on getting enough of the right foods to properly fuel your workout and promote muscle growth. This sense of dedication and focus on your physical health will transfer into other areas of your life. Your performance at work may improve or you may see positive changes in your personal relationships.

4. Social connections

Man being spotted while bench pressing

You can even make friends. | iStock.com

When you join a gym, start a program like CrossFit, or get serious about your weight lifting regime, you’ll naturally connect with the guy on the machine next to you at the gym, your coach or trainer, or friends and family who have similar interests. Social connections like these have a huge impact on your health. By training in a group or social environment you’ll be inspired by those around you, improve based on their feedback, and are likely to push yourself more when you have ample encouragement and support.

5. Get your zzz’s

Man sleeping

Your quality of sleep will improve. | iStock.com

If you’re one of the 40 million people in the U.S. who suffers from a chronic long-term sleep disorder or even make up the additional 20 million people who have occasional sleep problems, skip the sleep aids and turn to daily exercise. Exercise like weight lifting can improve sleep quality and help you sleep longer. Not only does working out wear out your body, making you physically ready for sleep, but some studies show that people who hit the gym regularly also experience a drop in anxiety, which helps develop regular sleep patterns.

6. Banish stress

Man stressed at work

Stressed? Try weight lifting. | iStock.com

By releasing endorphins, those amazing feel-good hormones, exercise can reduce stress. Plenty of cardio can do the trick, but your body will produce more endorphins in a shorter period of time when you lift weights. If you have a stressful job, home life, or just tend to be generally anxious, weight lifting can balance you out emotionally by reducing those sky-high levels of stress.