Health and Martial Arts
In today’s society, the sedentary lifestyle is the norm. We may sit at a computer all day at work, or we may spend our evenings mindlessly flipping through the TV channels. From our physical, to emotional, to mental health the majority of North Americans do little to improve our fitness. Martial arts training has been shown to have a number of positive benefits for our minds and bodies as it incorporates strength training, aerobic training, stretching, and mental focus exercises. Indeed, through martial arts, enthusiasts experience not only positive body changes but improvements in mental acuity and focus as well as stress management.
As is the case with any form of exercise, it may take several weeks for an individual to visibly notice physical improvements. Nevertheless, in just a few weeks martial arts training helps to improve cardiovascular fitness while also lowering blood sugar and blood pressure. Generally speaking, practitioners start to experience higher energy levels while also shedding unwanted pounds and improving flexibility. Indeed, the regular practice of martial arts can help to reduce the risk for a wide range of illnesses from hypertension and diabetes to heart disease, respiratory disease, and obesity.
Similarly, martial arts can also have an impressive impact on an individual’s mental health. Some research has shown that consistent training can lead to changes in brain chemistry which ultimately translates to positive change in emotional, behavioural, and physiological states. One of the most common benefits of training with respect to mental health is mood elevation. As a practitioner begins to master new techniques and climb the belt ranking system, feelings of self confidence and esteem are heightened or begin to emerge. Moreover, mood elevation and heightened energy levels provide with improved resistance to depression, anxiety, and even physical illnesses. Through martial arts, you may learn better coping skills as you develop better focus and self discipline.
Many of the benefits of practicing directly related to increased physical activity. Adults know that you must get regular exercise in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Not only does MMA provide the perfect opportunity to improve your physical and mental health, but it values mutual respect and discipline. While you are learning new skills and techniques in the field of martial arts, you are working in a community of practitioners. You begin to build relationships that encourage your continued focus on the arts and your health.
More importantly, martial arts takes a comprehensive approach to health so practitioners are given an unprecedented opportunity to address their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health as one in the same. Through systematic practice, health benefits are wide ranging and include improvements in strength, stamina, flexibility, movement, and more.