It's not just running. Two new studies confirm that weightlifting provides a similar boost to mental health. At the beginning of the year, when I was coming out of a rough experience with obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, and depression, I decided to switch from running regularly to lifting weights. This was despite mountains of evidence pointing to the benefits of aerobic exercise for mental health. The story I told myself was that running is a catabolic activity: It breaks the body down and causes increases in the stress hormone cortisol. Weightlifting, on the other hand, is anabolic: It builds the body up and promotes the release of the feel-good hormone testosterone. I felt broken. I figured trying to build myself up might help.
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