Would you believe it if we said that a set of dumbbells are useful for more than just toning the body? Turns out they’re pretty great for your mental health too. No matter what form of exercise you enjoy, whether it be running, yoga or HIIT, there’s no doubt that moving your body can work wonders for the mind too. Over the years lifting weights has gained an unfair reputation of being associated with a more angry and aggressive demeanour, but we’re here to overturn the stereotype and show you why it may actually keep these emotions at bay.
- A CONFIDENCE BOOSTER
Setting yourself a target, and hitting it – whether it take you days, weeks or months – is a sure fire way to boost confidence. Before you head to the weights area, you might feel shy or nervous at the prospect of entering a predominantly male area and picking up a light barbell. But it doesn’t take too long to start seeing your strength improve, and when you do, watch your confidence and self-esteem shoot through the roof.
- NO MORE NEGATIVE NANCY
Happy chemicals, endorphins, are released from the brain when you workout – even when you weight train. If you walked into the gym feeling stressed and unhappy, chances are you’ll walk out feeling far more positive thanks to a brilliant endorphin rush – leaving you calm, happy and upbeat for the rest of the day.
- ZONING OUT
Had one of those days? You know, the kind where you poured orange juice on your cereal and forgot a clean pair of post-workout undies. Gah. It’s time to put your headphones in, blast some tunes and break a sweat with some dumbbells. Just 30 minutes of ‘me’ time is enough to dust off those cobwebs and have you thinking straight again.
- FEEL THE CONNECTION
Mind-muscle connection is something we might hear of time and time again and choose to ignore. But really thinking about the muscles being worked during a particular resistance move can actually make it far more effective and offer you greater results. Take a barbell squat for example. The bar’s on your back and your going through the motions…feet shoulder width apart, bum back, lower down and rise. Now try thinking of the muscles being worked. Try and connect to your quads and to your glutes (that’s bum muscles FYI) by picturing them in your head as you squat. As you rise, really squeeze your glutes and feel them working.
Plus, research actually suggests that focusing on the target muscle can increase activation**.
- FEEL S T R O N G
Whether you’re lifting light dumbbells or squatting with a 100kg bar on your back (ouch!), weights give you that Powerful Woman feeling. In the caveman era, men were seen as the stronger sex, battling animals with spears and showing off honed physiques in tiny leopard print furs (well, this is what we imagine anyway…) but now more and more women are taking up positions in the weights room and proving that YES, we are just as strong as the men!