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The Gym is NOT Therapy

I’m sure you’ve heard it before: “The gym is my therapy!” “Lifting is cheaper than a therapist.”

Contrary to what you might have heard, the gym is NOT therapy.

This week is National Suicide Prevention Week, and at PPG, we know that lifting can be an important part of your overall emotional wellness plan. Emphasis on the word “part.” Lifting can’t replace actual mental health treatment if you’re struggling!

We know it can be hard to access help – sometimes there are waitlists, or it’s hard to figure out who is in your insurance network. It’s still really important to look for professional help if you’re having a hard time. Psychology Today has a pretty thorough database of therapists, and you can filter by what specific problem you’re having, location, and insurance. 

It’s pretty common knowledge that exercise has a positive impact on your mental health. Weightlifting in particular has been shown to have great benefits for anxiety, depression, and trauma. A few of the unique benefits of lifting include:

Stress reduction: Lifting weights reduces stress and provides a positive outlet for difficult emotions and tension.

Improved self esteem: Being able to set and then smash your lifting goals gives an amazing confidence boost and can help you feel accomplished. We see it all the time at PPG!

Improved sleep: Strength training is great for your sleep! A client of mind just shared in her programming that lifting was helping her to sleep better. Sleep is so important to your mental health! At PPG, we check in with our clients about their sleep to make sure they’re doing what they can to ensure both and adequate amount of sleep, and high quality sleep.

Positive social connection: Social connection is one of the number one predictors of longevity, and yet it’s something we often overlook. Getting your lifting done with a group or a buddy can help you build positive relationships. I’ve spent a lot of time lifting by myself, and one of the beautiful things about lifting at PPG is that in our LIFT program, you’ve got a built-in lifting group of really rad people.

While weightlifting can be a valuable component of your emotional wellness plan, it’s so important to acknowledge that the gym can’t fix everything! Sometimes, life’s challenges are too overwhelming. That’s where professional mental health support is so important. Seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness! We all struggle sometimes, and getting support isn’t something to be ashamed of.

Finally, last year, the national crisis hotline changed to simply 988. This is the crisis hotline ANYONE can use, and they offer targeted intervention for veterans and other special populations. If you’re in a crisis, or someone you love is having a crisis, call 988 for help. Staff at the 988 hotline can divert your call to local crisis services, so if you need local referral, they’ll be able to help you out!

Let’s prioritize our emotional well-being every day, not just during National Suicide Prevention Week.

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