Dwayne Johnson, 50, says working out helps manage depression: 'It doesn’t fix the problem, but it helps'

Dwayne Johnson is getting real about being in the best emotional shape of his life at 50 years old. (Flannery Underwood for Men’s Health)
Dwayne Johnson, 50, is getting real about being in the best emotional shape of his life. (Photo: Flannery Underwood for Men’s Health)

Dwayne Johnson says getting older is all about finding balance.

While speaking to Men's Health for its December cover story, the Black Adam star, 50, opened up about how working out has been his saving grace — both physically and spiritually — during some of the hardest years of his life. It's even helped him learn the power of vulnerability.

“During those times when I fell into and was challenged by depression, the gym became my best friend —and I know it’s like that for a lot of people," he explained. "You’re able to go to the gym to sweat out toxins and get a little bit more clarity when you walk out the door. It doesn’t fix the problem, but it helps.”

For the megastar, finding balance is a practice he's perfected with age, which is something he hopes other men can learn as well.

“As guys, we have a tendency to not ask for help," he said. "Ego gets in the way, and we start stuffing things deep down in our guts, which is not a good thing. I’ve become an advocate for asking for help.”

The actor added that he's found balance by "making sure that I still remain in touch with the simple core things that are important to me." After all, "life can get crazy and funny for all of us, but especially when you get a little bit of fame, things have a tendency to go sideways."

The Black Adam star says spirituality and physical fitness go hand in hand. (Flannery Underwood for Men’s Health)
The Black Adam star says spirituality and physical fitness go hand in hand. (Photo: Flannery Underwood for Men’s Health)

Indeed, while having nearly 347 million followers on Instagram is a "blessing," Johnson acknowledges that with great power comes great responsibility. Finding ways to connect fitness and mental health for his male fans is something he takes very seriously.

"I have trained long enough to know that there are some good takeaways that I could share that could help my audience in their fitness and wellness journey," he said of routinely posting his workouts on social media. "One of the responsibilities, though, is to make sure that the things I’m posting are smart, training-wise — not dumb s*** that’ll get you hurt.

Johnson's gym routine is no joke. While filming Black Adam, streaming Dec. 22 on HBO Max, he aimed to get in the "best shape" he's ever been in — which didn't come easy at this stage in life.

"As dudes, you hit your 30s, you like to think you’ve got your s*** together. You generally have no f****** clue. You’re trying to work your s*** out. And you’re trying to fake it till you make it, that kind of thing," he said. "At 40, I said, 'OK, I’m going to spend the next decade training as smart as I can, balancing out training and family and work, being an open sponge, learning every day but also not worrying about ego training, not worrying about the weight that I’m putting on the bar, pushing myself so hopefully, by the time I hit the fifth level, my joints are feeling great and I’m still able to not only maintain but add real muscle and some really dense muscle.'"

Though his routine might seem extreme, he insists there is a spiritual method to his madness.

"There’s a Polynesian word called mana," Johnson, who says he's half Black and half Samoan, notes. "Really what it means is like an energy, a force, a power that we all have, and it’s ever existent in our world. When I talk about mana, it’s a feeling that I get that’s just here deep in the DNA, and you can get it when you walk into the gym. You can feel the mana. It can be quite palpable."

"I’ve always been connected to my cultures, my family, and my ancestors, but as you go down the road of life, you start to get more connected with your spirituality in that kind of way where you start to realize what mana actually means, you know?" he continued. "For me, mana becomes my daily anchor, and it’s a reminder of my cultures. It’s a reminder of who I am; and it’s a reminder to work hard, to be humble, to show gratitude; and it’s a reminder to always connect with people, like we could be connected through mana. It’s very powerful."

Without question, Johnson is sharing that knowledge with his family too: daughters Tia, 4, Jasmin, 6, whom he shares with his wife Lauren Hashian, as well as his other daughter Simone, 21, whom he shares with his ex-wife and business partner Dany Garcia.

When he's not in the gym or filming the next big blockbuster, Johnson loves posting sweet moments with his family on social media.

In August, for example, the action star posted an adorable video tribute to Tiana.

"Lil' Tia 'Cindy Lulu' here has no idea. Absolutely zero idea how much her love and kindness means to her daddy," he wrote about his daughter, whose hair was sitting at the top of her head emulating Cindy Lou Who, the character from Dr. Seuss's How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

"One day, years from now, hanging out in daddy's office and sitting on my lap will be the LAST PLACE she'll want to be," the Jumanji star added. "So I'll be greedy and take it while I can get it. Thanks for being so nice to your T-Rex daddy. One day you'll understand."

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