The MIND - MUSCLE connection

Strength, June 05, 2023

Resistance training should be a part of EVERYONE's régime for physical and mental wellbeing #expansivewellness #muscle

Muscles are important for our function. They move us around and allow interaction with our surroundings. Very few of us fully appreciate how important muscles are for our mood.

It's been coined the MOOD-MUSCLE connection. Another example on how our mind and body are completely enmeshed together and health guidelines need to be more holistic. The scientific world backed this connection up with a study in 2003. A group of researchers in Copenhagen showed that working muscles release chemical messengers called myokines that have powerful effects on the brain function. They initiate a cascade of biological responses that enhance learning, boost memory, and improve mood.

Muscles are made up of cells. We are made of around 100 trillion cells. Every cell is a thriving ecosystem made up of hundreds of millions of proteins and other molecules that are working hard to allow you to thrive and live your best life. They perform billions of trillions of biological reactions every day. The energy to run this intricate symphony comes from the oxygen you breathe in and the food you imbibe. Nutrients are converted by the powerhouses of the cell - the mitohondria ; into billions of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) molecules every minute. An ordinary cell may have thousands of mitohondria, muscle cells possess tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands to power movement. The more optimised our cells function and the micro level the better we function on a macro level.

Resistance training should be prescribed to every human given the vital roles muscle plays in functional independence, energy production, and brain health. Pairing cardiovascular fitness with resistance training is far more effective for strengthening bones than any calcium supplement (High-Intensity resistance and impact Training Improves Bone Mineral Density and Physical Function in Post menopausal Women with Osteopenia and Osteoporosis: The LIFTMOR Randomised Controlled trail. Jour Bone Mener Res 2018 Feb;33(2):211-220, Watson SL et al) Regular, consistent muscle activity improves insulin resistance (cause of diabetes and other metabolic disease) better than prescription medication. Subsequent studies have shown that resistance training has positive emotional effects that rival the conventional anti-depressant drugs and psychotherapies (Association of Efficacy of Resistance Exercise Training with Depressive Symptoms: Meta - analysis and Meta- regression Analysis of Randomised Clinical Trails. JAMA Psychiatry. 2018 Jun 1:75(6):566-576, Gordon BR et al.) Our brains evolved to MOVE. The primary function of our brain is to co-ordinate complex movements to allow us to connect with our natural world.

Our holistic health requires a better understanding on the mind-body (muscle) connection. Cardiovascular exercise and resistance training must make up the platform for our physical and mental wellbeing.  


For Physiotherapy, Coaching, my book 'Holistic Human', Training Plans, YouTube, FREE recipes, 

Connect below