Many people are familiar with the physical health benefits of strength training ranging from maintaining muscle mass as we age to improving our mobility and cardiovascular health. Strength training also improves our mental health by easing depression, combating anxiety, and improving our mental sharpness. Nevertheless, the most impactful benefits of strength training may be neither physical or mental. Instead, many people who stick with strength training over time may suggest that the best benefit is its effect on the soul. Strength training offers nourishment to our lives that other activities may fall short of when it comes to feeling Zen.
Clear and Measurable Goals
In the workplace, achieving established metrics can still feel unfulfilling and lacking objective standards. External factors such as office politics, supervisor moods, and team opinions can be frustrating when trying to achieve your personal goals. Many sports can also be affected by external factors such as weather, officiating, and even equipment. On the other hand, strength training offers a controlled environment where you simply get out what you put in. While the straightforwardness of strength training can be difficult, the self-reliance it requires can yield incredible satisfaction. The results are often concrete; you can see what you lift and count your progress.
Consistency and Patience
Like many things in life, progress is not always linear or quick. Strength training isn’t any different, but there are payoffs to showing up and taking the incremental steps that are necessary to make big gains. Plateaus will also be inevitable, yet it’s important to embrace them and recognize them as part of the process.
Balance Rest and Stress
With strength training, the way to build muscle is to stress it and then let it recover. But, the balance between rest and stress is crucial. Too much of either can lead to injury, burnout, or stagnation.
Ingredients for Human Flourishing
While strength training can seem dull and repetitive, the act of weight lifting is, in fact, fulfilling. Three basic needs that lead to fulfillment are autonomy, mastery, and belonging. Strength training encourages a person’s autonomy by encouraging them to exercise their independence and have control over their actions. Mastery within strength training can be seen through the clear path of progress through consistency and patience. Finally, the strength training community helps foster a sense of belonging as others are working toward similar goals.
Strength Training Mindset
Understandably, strength training can be intimidating and even burdensome. But, when we shift our perspective beyond the outcome or means to an end, we have the opportunity to appreciate the activity for something more. Hopefully, this approach can help encourage you to embrace strength training and embrace the many benefits beyond physical and mental health. Instead of viewing strength training as only lifting weights in the gym, try to be present with the activity and see the value of showing up and giving it your best every time you’re in the gym.