Martial arts provides a number of excellent health benefits, in addition to instilling discipline and confidence within students. Through improving one’s skills during practice, a student of martial arts will also be able to build a healthier body and, by extension, lifestyle.
Since health and fitness are closely intertwined, let’s explore 10 of the most common health benefits of martial arts.
1. Cardiovascular Health
Meeting the physical activity guidelines of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention can be difficult. According to their research, only one in five adults actually meets their suggested amount of exercise. Cardiovascular health, in particular, is very important to manage, as it is closely linked to heart health. Especially during training, drills can really help ramp up one’s heart rate, helping you build cardiovascular endurance and increasing the positive impact of your aerobic exercise.
2. Muscle Tone
Students of martial arts can increase muscle mass and help them become more toned over all. Punching and kicking requires a lot of strength, demanding the muscles in your arms, legs, and core work hard. Muscle mass and metabolism are connected, as the more muscle mass you have, the higher your metabolic demands become. This means that your body will burn more calories, even while your body is at rest.
3. Weight Loss
As previously mentioned, improving your muscle mass and tone can help improve your metabolism, which can contribute to weight loss. Martial arts is a great form of exercise, especially if you practice two to three times each week. The CDC recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, each week (roughly 2 hours and 30 minutes).
Fast reflexes are required of good martial artists. Whether it’s sparring or fighting in a competition, blocking and dodging the attacks of your opponent is important to every martial artist. Through repetition, your reflex will improve and you’ll notice faster reaction times in all parts of your life. Quick reflexes can help in a number of day-to-day activities, such as driving and cooking.
Many martial arts disciplines require mobility and agility and practicing martial arts is a terrific way to improve your body’s ability to move faster and more efficiently. Over time, you’ll notice greater speed, especially if your form of martial arts requires a lot of footwork.
6. Strength and Power
While form is important for an effective punch or kick, strength is also needed to ensure that your attack is powerful. Conversely, practicing martial arts will provide you with the opportunity to train your body to become stronger and more formidable.
Such martial arts disciplines as Taekwondo require a lot of strength, when it comes to some of its techniques. These kicks, punches, and other moves will increase your entire body’s strength over time. Repetition is another factor that can help improve your body’s musculature.
Executing such things as high kicks or dodging attacks requires a lot of flexibility. In addition to that, having a more pliable body can help reduce the likelihood of injury, making flexibility important for any athlete. Certain disciplines – such as MMA and Muay Thai – can help you improve your flexibility since their moves require that of your body.
8. Stability and Coordination
Every martial art requires its students to have good stability and coordination. When it comes to both executing moves and blocking or avoiding attacks, you need a certain amount of awareness and stability to succeed. With practice, you will quickly improve both qualities, particularly during sparring.
9. Blood Pressure
Most types of martial arts require rigorous training that contributes to improved fitness. One of the benefits of engaging in any martial arts practice is improved blood pressure. Especially during training, repetitive movements can behave like high intensity interval training. This type of training will improve your cardiovascular strength, slowing down your resting heart rate and lowering your blood pressure.
10. Mental Health
A number of studies have shown that exercise can help improve your mental health. Martial arts can help relieve you of your daily stressors and help you focus on your task at hand, providing you with the opportunity to get rid of distractions. Keeping active will also trigger your body to release endorphins, reducing the risks of premature death, Martial arts often comes with certain philosophies that help the students learn more about themselves, further promoting self-discipline, healthy competition, and goal-setting.
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What are your reasons for practicing martial arts? Have you noticed changes in your physical and mental health since taking up martial arts? Let us know on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Google+, to stay up to date with all of your PerfectMind news.