Can Lifting Weights Improve Happiness?
Happiness and Weight Lifting
Many of us have the idea in our heads that lifting weights is only for big, beefy guys with six-pack abs and guns of steel. The truth though is that weightlifting can benefit anyone, even those who think that they might feel out of place grunting and sweating next to Hans and Franz at the gym. With dedication and hard work, anyone who decides to take up weightlifting can improve their happiness. And once you’ve read this article, hopefully you will be reaching for a barbell in no time.
Lifting weights offers the opportunity to see real, measurable gains. There is something very rewarding about dedicating yourself to an activity and having undeniable proof of improvement. Often we make goals like “I want to be a better parent,” or “I want to be more responsible,” and while these are admirable sentiments, they are difficult to quantify. A five pound boost to your max bench press is an accomplishment worthy of immediate celebration.
A great way to monitor your success it to keep a daily journal of weights and repetitions. By maintaining this record of how far you have come on your weightlifting journey, you will be able to flip through and be blown away by how incremental gains have turned into massive overall improvements.
When lifting weights, you are competing against yourself and no one else. The guy screaming “yaaaahhhh” next to you may look like Popeye after eating spinach, but it doesn’t matter. Once you understand and accept that lifting weights is a personal challenge, you can relax and enjoy the process without stressing about whether you belong.
By competing against yourself, your successes don’t come at the expense of anyone else and you can simply enjoy what you have accomplished. There is nothing quite like personal achievement to improve self-confidence and bring about happiness.
A Better Mind
The old saying, “healthy body, healthy mind,” may be cliche, but it is a truism that stands the test of time. A vigorous and regular lifting routine increases oxygen flow to the brain, improves brain wiring and discharges various hormones that bolster brain function. It also releases dopamine, which acts as an anti-depressant and helps to spur activity and motivation in other areas of your life.
Carving out time in your busy schedule to lift weights can have the benefit of making you more efficient, with better all-around stamina for life’s activities. More work completed in less amount of time means greater freedom to do the things you really want to do. I think that’s how many of us would like to live!
Lifting weights helps to bring discipline to your schedule. When you know that you have a tough workout planned, you become more aware of what you eat and how much sleep you are getting. You are also less likely to drink heavily or to do anything to your body that will prevent you from feeling energized for your next workout.
Also, the simple act of lifting weights improves discipline. By persevering through difficult repetitions, you teach your mind and body toughness and resilience. You may also find that you are able to push yourself to a point you never thought possible, which can only help you in other areas of your life.
Lifting weights helps you become a stronger and more explosive athlete in most sports. Whatever level, whether competitive basketball or beer-league softball, you will feel good seeing your hard work at the gym paying dividends in an athletic event.
If you are focused on a specific sport, weightlifting routines can be tailored to fit your individual needs. This type of flexibility makes creating your routine fun and rewarding. It also maximizes the benefits you will see when you participate in your favorite activity.
A Friendly Mirror
Lastly, it’s fun to look in the mirror and see muscle where there was once fat. Whether you decide to show off your new body to the rest of the world or to simply enjoy it yourself, you can feel proud and happy about the work you put in to create the transformation.