My recovery journey has of course not been easy, many of the journeys never are – but there are strategies and tools along the way that can seriously improve the way we recover and our overall outlook and future. One such strategy that has been a ‘game-changer’ for me personally has been weight training at the gym. For a little under 6 weeks now I have been hitting the gym, at least 4 to 5 times a week and the benefits have been truly incredible. I have noticed many positive side-effects, both physical and psychological and I want to provide a brief rundown and overview on what benefits strength and weight-training can offer.
An article published in Forbes in 2012, backed by legitimate research mentioned many notable and positive effects from strength and weight-training. Below I touch on these briefly to help you understand just how critically important this strategy can be in your arsenal and tool-bag for not just opiate recovery – but for generally living a healthy and balanced lifestyle. So without further introductory soliloquy from me, here is a great overview of the many benefits:
- Boston University School of Medicine Scientists performed a study using a “push-up” gene in a mouse to examine how strength building affects metabolism and other physiological systems. The scientists concluded that weightlifting helps to “regress obesity and resolve metabolic disorders.”
- Weightlifting can create non-bulky muscles that have stronger thicker fibers, which with power training have shown to enhance performance in endurance sports (the myth has always been that weightlifting builds bulk which slows down athletes in endurance sports).
- Studies that show that cyclists who do resistance training and plyometrics (a specific type of training designed to produce fast, powerful movements and improve the functions of the nervous system) have “far more genetic remodeling within their muscles than cyclists who did no strength training. Their muscles contain twice as many various signaling molecules that jump-start adaptive changes and make muscles better able to use oxygen–to have in other words, greater endurance. Resistance exercise, also amplifies the adaptive signaling response in the muscles. It redoubles the benefits of the cycling or running. It also, as other studies shows, tunes up an out-of-shape nervous system.
- Certain weight training regimens, without any additional endurance exercise, can in fact replicate most of the health benefits generally associated with running, swimming, and walking.
- Weightlifting helps to melt away visceral fat as well as fat that builds up around the body’s organs, which has been associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
- The health benefits of weightlifting include:
- Requires and improves focus
- Positively affects bone density
- Positively affects range of motion
- Positively affects fall prevention
- Positively affects stability and balance
- Develops and or maintains lean muscle which provides several physiological benefits
- Improves work capacity
- Heightens perception
- Improves cardiovascular function
- Relieves stress
- Helps prevent diabetes
Finally, one of the greatest benefits I have observed from strength and weight-training exercise has been the notable improvement in my emotional and mental health. You may or may not know I suffer from anxiety and depression, however I have experienced massive improvements in my mood, levels of stress, and overall an improved positive outlook on life – not to mention increased energy and vitality.
If you are looking for another tool to assist you in your recovery or a general improvement in lifestyle – give strength and weight-training a try.