EMS Exercise and Mental Health

Mental Health and EMS Fitness

Mens sana in corpore sano. A Latin phrase that translates to “a healthy mind in a healthy body”. It was originally written by the Roman poet Juvenal as part of what we should pursue in life. When I had a personal training company in New York, I called it “ICS Fitness” standing for In Corpore Sano, the physical health portion of the sentence, but today let’s focus on the first part: the mind.

Exercise and mental health go hand in hand like peanut butter and jelly, cheese on pizza, or traffic in Los Angeles. Mental health is a vital aspect of overall well-being.

Ask any long-distance runner why they enjoy running and most will answer that it has nothing to do with losing weight or keeping in shape, but rather for all the mental health benefits. Some will even go as far as saying they feel cranky and moody if they didn’t get their run in that day. This is also common among cyclists, swimmers, triathletes, and other endurance enthusiasts. I’m sure the term “runner’s high” rings a bell. 

So do we need to participate in endurance sports to get mental health benefits from exercise? 

Not exclusively! 

Resistance training involves working against resistance, such as weights, resistance bands, or body weight, to increase muscle strength and mass. Resistance training is known to improve physical health by reducing the risk of chronic conditions like obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. However, resistance training has also been shown to improve mental health by reducing symptoms of anxiety, depression, and stress.

Research shows that resistance training positively affects mental health by reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety. Resistance training promotes the release of endorphins, which are the body’s natural mood boosters. These endorphins help to reduce stress and anxiety levels, leading to an overall sense of well-being. 

Resistance training also increases the levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood, appetite, and sleep. Higher levels of serotonin have been linked to reduced symptoms of depression.

In addition to improving mood, resistance training has been shown to improve cognitive function. Studies have found that resistance training improves memory, attention, and executive function. 

One of the most significant benefits of resistance training is its ability to reduce stress levels. Resistance training has been shown to reduce cortisol levels, a hormone that the body releases in response to stress. High cortisol levels are associated with several health issues, including anxiety, depression, and weight gain. By reducing cortisol levels, resistance training can improve overall mental health and well-being.

Resistance training provides a structured routine that promotes discipline and consistency, which can be helpful for individuals struggling with motivation and self-discipline. Additionally, the sense of accomplishment that comes with regular resistance training can boost confidence and self-esteem, leading to an overall improvement in mental health.

How is EMS fitness related to mental health benefits? 

Whole-body electrical muscle stimulation is a fairly new technology, especially for the US, so there are not a lot of studies, and even less so for links to mental health benefits. I did find one study which I summarize below. 

However, we know that EMS fitness is equivalent to resistance training, and can also be used in conjunction with cardiovascular exercise, so it is reasonable to think that we would derive the same mental health benefits from it. 

EMS workouts are short, so there is less mental strain and willpower drain than with longer workouts.

Here at Bodybuzz, we always include a few minutes of our Recovery Program, to reduce soreness, promote blood flow, remove lactic acid, and drain the lymphatic system. This is also a moment we give to all our clients to close their eyes, focus on their breath, and meditate if they wish to do so.

Research study: Psychological effects of WB-EMS training: a controlled pilot study in healthy volunteers

In this study, researchers wanted to check what possible psychological effects WB-EMS training would have on subjects. 

Twelve participants trained with an EMS suit on, and the other thirteen participants wore the suit without turning it on. Both groups performed the same exercises for the same duration for one session, then waited a week and then swapped groups. 

The aim of this study was to investigate the potential psychological effects of WB-EMS training on subjective well-being, relaxation, mood, and perceived stress. 

Key Findings: The results indicate that WB-EMS training has a statistically significant impact on subjective well-being and relaxation, suggesting that it may have positive psychological effects in addition to its known physiological benefits. Additionally, WB-EMS could potentially benefit individuals with mental disorders who may struggle with regular and intense exercise.

They did not find any differences in the calm-nervous or current stress levels.

Our take: Although the study shows some positive psychological effects from EMS fitness, it is not an exhaustive study by any means. The sample size was small, one inclusion criterion was at least 3 months of WB-EMS training experience so there’s a high bias of enjoying the training or not. Both groups performed the same exercises, and as we mentioned before, EMS workouts are equivalent to resistance training so we would expect to see a lot of similarities. Yet, the group that did have the stimulation saw additional benefits over the other group. 

If you are interested in learning more about EMS book a free consultation with me here: https://calendly.com/conradfitness/30min


Director of Education and Technology



Bodybuzz combines Certified Personal Training with Electrical Muscle Stimulation, giving your body a deeper, safer, and more effective workout. 20 minutes twice a week is all it takes!

Our personal trainers will guide you through a custom EMS workout designed specifically for you. Whether you’re looking to build strength, lose weight, get toned, or recover from an injury or illness, we offer a safe, low-impact solution to help get you there.

EMS has now been FDA-cleared for use in the US and we are proud to be one of the first companies to introduce this technology. It is a full-body workout that uses a special muscle stimulating suit that sends low-level impulses to your major muscle groups to trigger muscle contractions. It’s a unique sensation that is painless and invigorating. EMS workouts are designed to achieve optimal conditioning, burn fat, develop strength, build muscle, tighten skin, combat cellulite, jump-start your metabolism and restore your body’s natural balance.