Originating from East Asia, Martial Arts now holds an important place in the west as well. It is practiced by people of all ages across many cultures. According to a report from Statista, in 2017 the number of martial arts participants (six years and older) in the United States amounted to approximately 3.42 billion.
People who have been practicing martial arts for years know the plethora of health benefits it offers. From physical to mental, martial arts can improve the condition of both your mind and body. Martial art is an excellent alternative to your daily workout routine. It is a key to a healthy lifestyle that is beneficial for your overall health. Here’s why you should take up martial arts:
Physical Health Benefits of MMA
Embracing the active lifestyle of martial arts can do wonders for your overall health. It saves you from falling prey to several chronic diseases and even takes you closer to your body goals. Read further:
1. Tones Muscles:
The strikes and punches of martial arts increase the muscle mass in the body and tones them. Martial arts are equivalent to a full-body workout. It allows your body to burn calories and sustain only the lean muscle mass.
2. Supports Weight Loss:
Martial arts like KungFu, Judo, Karate, can help you lose weight without having to spend hours in the gym. The kicks, jumps, and punches exercise your muscles and burn off the excess fat. As you burn fat, it leads to weight loss and results in a well-toned body. It will also improve your stamina. However, according to a study published in the MDPI journal, the rapid weight loss resulting from martial arts can cause health ailments if the individual’s diet is not adequate.
3. Improves Cardiovascular Health:
To keep chronic diseases at bay, you need to indulge in physical activities daily. Martial arts can amp up your heart rate to build endurance against cardiovascular diseases. With its high-intensity training, martial arts can improve the heart’s health significantly. As per a study published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science, “taekwondo as a security martial arts training increases the maximal oxygen uptake and anaerobic threshold and accelerates an individual’s recovery to the normal state of cardiorespiratory fitness and blood lactate level”.
4. Strength and Balance:
The intense training of martial arts helps build strength in your body. It strengthens our body and teaches us the art of balance. This strength allows you to ward off an attack, if it ever comes to it. The stability and balance in your techniques come with consistent practicing of the movements.
5. Enhances Flexibility:
The movements of martial art allow your body to become more flexible. Your body needs to be highly flexible to perform long kicks and stop the attacks. This also helps improve posture and reduce muscle soreness after an intense training session.
6. Lowers Blood Pressure:
The repetitive movements of martial arts training also help lower down your blood pressure along with your heart rate.
It is also known to reduce cholesterol levels and keep your blood glucose levels in check. As per a study published in the MDPI journal, Tai Chi, a form of martial arts, is effective in reducing the risk of stroke, blood pressure, and other metabolic diseases.
7. Faster Reflexes:
In martial arts, act as quickly as possible to avoid the attack and defeat your competitor.
The self-defense techniques of Martial Arts improve your reflexes and make them faster and will aid you as and when necessary.
Mental Health Benefits of MMA
Your mental health is as important as your physical health. The exercise of martial arts is good for your mind as well, to keep it calm and stress-free. Read further:
1. Promotes Cognitive Health:
Martial arts improve the cognitive function of the students practicing it consistently. It enhances focus, and attention span, and regular practice can also improve your memory and learning skills. This produces a positive response towards a challenge and emotional stability and assertiveness.
2. Increases Confidence:
As you grow and improve as a martial artist, your confidence also increases.
It makes you self-reliant and enhances self-esteem. The students get to resolve conflicts in the training sessions, which leads them to believe in the skills they have learned. This gives them a sense of accomplishment and boosts confidence.
3. Relieves Stress:
Martial arts are a mindful exercise to combat stress and aid in its management.
It triggers the release of ‘endorphin’ hormones in the body. This ‘feel-good’ hormone reduces stress and calms your mind down. The training sessions of MMA can be cathartic as you engage yourself in learning new techniques and skills. This eases the stress and gives you a sense of control over your problems.
4. Alleviates Anger:
We often feel the need to yell and punch to release anger.
Martial arts are a form of aerobic workout that gives a suitable outlet to your emotions, including anger and frustration. It combats the anger and calms down your thoughts to come to terms with things you can’t control.
5. Accepting Change:
Martial arts teach you the philosophy of change, response, and reaction which helps develop a flexible mindset
along with the body. This allows you to accept the changes in life and find solutions if needed. It strengthens you and enhances the ability to tackle a situation with more determination and grace. You put more thought into your response rather than losing your calm at the very instant.
6. Enhances Spiritual Health:
Martial arts stresses on the importance of meditation and mental strength.
It is a powerful way to mindfulness. Mindfulness involves breathing techniques to relax the mind and your thoughts. It elevates your spirit and inculcates thoughtful habits, including self-discipline and self-control.
The benefits of martial arts are only reaped by those who commit to the art with patience and dedication. It braces you for the challenges ahead in life, and how to tackle them with ease. Therefore, martial arts are more than just a hobby, it teaches you the way of life and pushes you towards a healthier lifestyle. It’s important to stay focused and practice a few times a week, if not daily. If you too need a full mind and body workout, then sign up for a martial arts class today.