There’s been a lot in the news in recent years of celebrities taking their own lives or coming clean about their battles with depression. Whilst this is a tragic thing to hear about, the great thing that we can take away from this is that people are becoming more aware and more open about their mental health.
Depression and Suicide
Depression affects each individual differently, and tragically, an overwhelming sense of depression can often lead to suicide. Depression and suicide rates have increased over the last couple of decades, and it begs the question: Why? What has happened over the last 20 years that could have affected so many people so significantly?
While it’s not the only answer and other factors have to be taken into consideration, we have to look towards the Internet. Whilst it is a revolutionary invention which has changed the way we live our lives, it has also become the reason that many people no longer take part in physical activity. Perhaps they’d rather be scrolling through their social media accounts or browsing the web for cat videos…
Sadly, we no longer feel the need to get up and experience the outside world, because the digital version is right there on the screen in front of us. It’s easy to access, and we don’t have to leave the house.
What we forget is, that as a species, we were created for more than just sitting around the house. At one point, we were hunter-gatherers and we used a number of skills and talents to help us experience the world and learn more about it. We were designed to move.
Depression can be caused by a number of factors of course, so we can’t say that the internet is entirely to blame, but we have to consider that lack of movement in our lives can lead to a more depressive state of mind. Research has previously shown that walking, jogging, meditation and yoga have reduced depression in certain individuals, and now new research has shown that so does lifting weights.
The Cost of Depression
The impact of depression on the world’s economy is also extremely shocking. Whilst 300 million people on the planet suffer from depression, it is costing the world $118 billion. Medication and therapy have been a significant part of these costs, but now we can also begin to look at exercise as a way to help not just the economy, but mostly the individuals who are affected by depression too.
Scientists have extensively researched the effects of exercise and its relation to reducing depression. It is the hope of many health professionals that lifting weights will not only prevent the manifestation of depression in people who are mentally healthy but will also significantly reduce the symptoms of depression in those who are already suffering from it.
For many years, lifting weights was associated with big, bulky guys that wanted to enter the Mr. Olympia contests. However, times are changing and people of all ages and genders are beginning to train with weights and are benefiting from the endorphins this type of exercise releases. To lift heavy things is in our DNA – we were built to build, carry and move. And the more that we do this, the better we will feel.