Weight-lifting, exercise, and mental health

While the benefits of exercise on physical health are well known; exercise has many other benefits.

In particular, resistance training, like weight lifting, is not just about being fit or muscular, it can also improve emotional and mental health.

A large study looked at resistance training and anxiety.

What was the study?

This was review of 16 studies looking at resistance training like lifting weights.

Who was studied?

922 participants.

What was measured?

Validated anxiety outcome measures prior to, at mid-point, and after a period of resistance training.

What were the results?

  • Resistance training significantly reduced anxiety symptoms (Δ = 0.31, 95% CI 0.17–0.44; z = 4.43; p < 0.001).
  • Larger effects were found among healthy participants (Δ = 0.50, 95% CI 0.22–0.78) compared to participants with a physical or mental illness (Δ = 0.19, 95% CI 0.06–0.31, z = 2.16, p < 0.04).
  • Effect sizes did not  vary much according to sex, program or session length, frequency or intensity.

What are some other mental health benefits of exercise?

  • A review of 15 years of research shows that exercise can improve brain function (4)
  • A study of 33,000 people over 11 years demonstrated that exercise may prevent depression with 1-2 hours PER WEEK of exercise (5).
  • May help reduce alcohol use disorder (6)
  • Reduce chronic fatigue (7)
  • Improve sleep (8)

How much should I exercise?

The recommended exercise duration according to The National Institute of Health’s “Physical activity guidelines for Americans” (9, 10):

  • For moderate intensity activity, 20 to 42 minutes a day (150minutes to 300 minutes per week).
  • For vigorous intensity activity, 10 to 21 minutes a day (75 to 150 minutes a week).

What are some examples of moderate and vigorous intensity activities? (9, 10)

  • Some examples of moderate intensity activities include walking, water aerobics, slow bike rides, etc.
  • Some examples of vigorous intensity activities include jogging/running, Bicycling 10 miles per hour or faster, lifting weights/resistance band training.

What are some precautions?

  • It may be best to check with your healthcare provider to make sure it’s safe for you’re to start an exercise program.
  • It may be wise to stop exercise and seek professional help if you notice:
    • Increased depression, disordered eating, and other mental health concerns.
    • Injury, pain, or decreased motivation
    • Obsessive behaviors
    • Other symptoms.
  • Exercise may not help without proper nutrition.
  • It may be wise to learn about proper nutrition and proper exercise technique, and exercise/nutrition plans, before starting to exercise.
  • It may be helpful to gradually start exercising to give yourself time to adjust to an active lifestyle.
  • It might take weeks months or longer for some people to get used to and enjoy the minimum activity guidelines.
  • Occasional periods without exercise may be important to prevent injury.
  • Figuring out what works best for you may give you lasting benefits.

Any useful resources on campus?

Any other useful links?

By R. Ryan S Patel DO, FAPA OSU-CCS Psychiatrist

Disclaimer: This article is intended to be informative only. It is advised that you check with your own physician/mental health provider before implementing any changes. With this article, the author is not rendering medical advice, nor diagnosing, prescribing, or treating any condition, or injury; and therefore claims no responsibility to any person or entity for any liability, loss, or injury caused directly or indirectly as a result of the use, application, or interpretation of the material presented.

References:

  1. Gordon, B.R., McDowell, C.P., Lyons, M. et al. Sports Med (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-017-0769-0
  2. The Effects of Resistance Exercise Training on Anxiety: A Meta-Analysis and Meta-Regression Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials.
  3. https://www.unm.edu/~lkravitz/Article%20folder/RTandMentalHealth.html
  4. O’Connor, P.J., Herring, M.P. and Carvalho, A. (2010). Mental health benefits of strength training in adults. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, 4(5), 377-396.
  5. Koščak Tivadar, B. Biogerontology (2017) 18: 477. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10522-017-9708-6. Physical activity improves cognition: possible explanations.
  6. Harvey SB, Øverland S, Hatch SL, Wessely S, Mykletun A, Hotopf M. Exercise and the Prevention of Depression: Results of the HUNT Cohort Study.   Am J Psychiatry. 2017 Oct 3:appiajp201716111223. doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2017.16111223. [Epub ahead of print]
  7. Hallgren, Mats et al. “More Reasons to Move: Exercise in the Treatment of Alcohol Use Disorders.” Frontiers in Psychiatry 8 (2017): 160. PMC. Web. 20 Oct. 2017.
  8. Larun L, Brurberg KG, Odgaard-Jensen J, Price JR. Exercise therapy for chronic fatigue syndrome. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2017, Issue 4. Art. No.: CD003200. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003200.pub7.
  9. Kovacevic A, Mavros Y, Heisz JJ, Fiatarone Singh MA. The effect of resistance exercise on sleep: A systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Sleep Med Rev. 2017 Jul 19. pii: S1087-0792(16)30152-6. doi: 10.1016/j.smrv.2017.07.002. [Epub ahead of print].
  10. https://health.gov/paguidelines/
  11. https://health.gov/paguidelines/guidelines/chapter4.aspx

 

 

Dealing with too much stress

What is stress?

Stress can be thought of as a response by the brain and body respond to any demand (1).

Some stress is useful in helping us perform in life, achieve goals, grow, etc.

Too much stress can harm both physical and emotional health in many different ways.

What does too much stress feel like?

Different people respond to stress in different ways.

 What are some common emotional responses to excessive  stress?

Too much stress can cause:

  • Changes in mood, sleep, irritability, body aches (3).
  • Changes in appetite, difficulty concentrating, etc.

What are some unhealthy ways of dealing with too much stress?

  • Increasing use of caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, drugs.
  • Unhealthy eating habits.
  • Increased behaviors of isolation/avoidance. Too much time away from the problem might make the problem worse by causing you to miss deadlines, meetings, assignments, etc.

What are some healthy ways  of dealing with too much stress?

The American Psychological Association’s help center suggests (2):

  • Take a break. A few minutes away from what is stressing you might help you have a new perspective or give you a chance to practice stress management techniques. (Links below).
  • Smile and laugh. This might help relieve some tension and improve the situation.
  • Get social support from others or a counselor. Talking to someone might help you feel better, collect your thoughts, gain new insights into the situation.

The following are adapted from National Library of Medicine (3) stress management page:

  • Recognize and accept the things you can’t change.  This can help you let go and not get upset. For instance, you might not change rush hour traffic, but you can look for ways to relax during your commute, such as listening to a podcast or book.
  • Avoid stressful triggers when possible. For example, if your family squabbles during the holidays, give yourself a breather and go out for a walk or drive.
  • Exercise. Regular exercise or physical activity most days for about 30 minutes can help your brain release chemicals that make you feel good, and help you release built-up energy or frustration.
  • Change your outlook. Are you being too negative? Work on more positive attitude toward challenges by replacing negative thoughts with more positive ones.
  • Do something you enjoy preferably daily even if it’s just for a few minutes. Examples include reading a good book, listening to music, watching a favorite movie, or having dinner with a friend, a new hobby or class.
  • Get 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. This can help you think more clearly, and have more energy.
  • Eat enough AND eat healthy foods. This can help fuel your body and mind. Skip the high-sugar snack foods and load up on vegetables, fruits, raw nuts, lean proteins, good fats.
  • Learn to say no. Set limits if you feel over-scheduled, cut back or defer where you can. Ask others for help when you need it.

Are there useful stress management resources on campus?

Anything else?

Other ideas to manage stress:

Gratitude and mindfulness exercises to manage stress:

Benefits of Play and Leisure:

Smartphone apps for mental health: https://u.osu.edu/emotionalfitness/2017/05/

 

What are some signs that YOU are under too much stress?

What healthy strategies have you tried?

Which ones work for you to help manage stress?

By R. Ryan S Patel DO, FAPA OSU-CCS Psychiatrist

Disclaimer: This article is intended to be informative only. It is advised that you check with your own physician/mental health provider before implementing any changes. With this article, the author is not rendering medical advice, nor diagnosing, prescribing, or treating any condition, or injury; and therefore claims no responsibility to any person or entity for any liability, loss, or injury caused directly or indirectly as a result of the use, application, or interpretation of the material presented.

References:

  1. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/stress/index.shtml
  2. http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/manage-stress.aspx
  3. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/001942.htm

 

 

Study: Play and Leisure’s impact on mood, stress, and wellbeing

By R. Ryan S Patel DO, FAPA OSU-CCS Psychiatrist

As the semester advances, students face increasing stress; which can impact your mental health, and academic performance.

A recent study looked at the role of leisure activities on stress management, mood, and improving well being (1).   This could improve  your academic performance.

What exactly is “leisure activities”?

  • One definition of leisure is “Leisure activities are generally self-selected, self-rewarding behavioral pursuits that take place during non-work time” (1,2,3).
  • A different way of looking at leisure might be play. One definition play is: “Engage in activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose” (4).
  • Dr Stuart Brown(5) identified 8 different categories of play, such as explorer, joker, competitor, artist, craftsman, storyteller, performer, director.

What was the study? (1)

  • 115 adults who were working full time were asked 6 times per day for 3 days, about their involvement in leisure, exercise, and social interactions along with their mood, interest, and stress (1).
  • Their stress hormone (cortisol) levels and heart rate were also measured (1).

What were the results? (1)

When participants engaged in leisure they reported (1):

  • More happiness, more interest.
  • Less sadness, less stress, and lower heart rate.

The results were similar when the participants exercised, and even after accounting for social interaction(1); but the exercise group had lower levels of cortisol (stress hormone).

Benefits lasted for hours after the activities.

Different people might benefit from different types of play. What type of play is best for you?

Are there any campus resources on play?

 

Disclaimer: This article is intended to be informative only. It is advised that you check with your own physician/mental health provider before implementing any changes. With this article, the author is not rendering medical advice, nor diagnosing, prescribing, or treating any condition, or injury; and therefore claims no responsibility to any person or entity for any liability, loss, or injury caused directly or indirectly as a result of the use, application, or interpretation of the material presented.

References:

  1. Zawadzki, M.J., Smyth, J.M. & Costigan, H.J. ann. behav. med. (2015) 49: 605. doi:10.1007/s12160-015-9694-3
  2. Iso-Ahola SE. Basic dimensions of definitions of leisure. J Leis Res. 1979; 11: 28-39.
  3. Manfredo MJ, Driver BL, Tarrant MA. Measuring leisure motivation: A meta-analysis of the recreation experience preference scales. J Leis Res. 1996; 28: 188-213.
  4. https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/play  Accessed 9/27/16.
  5. Stuard Brown MD, Christopher Vaughn. Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul Paperback – April 6, 2010. Avery publishing. ISBN-13: 978-1583333785