Martial Arts: Helping You Strengthen Mind And Body
For some people, the physical benefits alone when it comes to exercise and sports are enough. However, more and more we’re recognizing the links between the mind and the body. As a result, many are looking to learn ways that can help them improve both at the same time. However, some of the oldest sports traditions around us might have had the answers all along. Here, we’re going to look at how martial arts might provide the balanced improvements you’ve been looking for.
Weight loss and cardiovascular health
Almost all martial arts require training that involves repetitive movements and lots of aerobic exercise. While aerobics are often touted for their ability to help you lose weight (and they certainly do), the impact that they can have on your health goes a lot deeper. Evolve MMA shows how martial arts can help you fight heart disease. Not only are you strengthening the heart muscles, but you’re also helping the heart pump with a greater efficiency, maintaining your blood pressure at a healthy rate. Both weight loss and improved cardiovascular health greatly reduce your risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.
Fight stress and improve your mental state
Sports of any kind are a great stress buster. The physical exertion decreases the production of cortisol (better known as the stress hormone) and improves the production of endorphins, which are a natural mood booster. Not only does this help you push yourself a little harder when exercising, but it has a lasting effect on your mood, as well. Martial arts help to improve the mind and body because it also teaches serious moral values, such as the importance of discipline and respect, not only for yourself but for your teacher, the others learning alongside you, and even your opponent. Many martial arts experts would agree that learning the discipline helped them shape a much better, more balanced worldview, as well as a healthier mind.
The cognitive benefits
Compared to other sports, martial arts like judo and karate involve a lot more learning. Not only do you have to take the time to learn and practice fundamental movements that later get incorporated into techniques that you also have to memorize. There are also traditions that have to be learned as well. Even something as simple as how to don your gear, like Judo Info’s quick tutorial on how to tie a judo belt, teaches you to pay more attention to detail. This memorization and attention to detail have legitimate cognitive benefits, including greater focus, ability to concentrate, and improved memory. Not only can this help you in the present, but cognitive exercise is also shown to be key in reducing your risk of problems like dementia in later life.
Coordination and balance
Martial arts encourage strength training and aerobic exercise, much like other sports. However, there’s an even greater deal of importance placed on mobility and control. Livestrong shows some other examples of exercises that can improve coordination and balance, but in martial arts, it’s directly tied to your learning progress. New techniques are going to expand your flexibility and to teach you better balance in different postures. The reason that the very best in martial arts can seem almost superhuman is that they’ve trained their coordination and balance over and over again. Besides the benefits to your mobility now, this also crucial for maintaining your range of motion as you get older.
Improved confidence can be said to be a benefit of all kinds of exercise. Many people feel confident simply by recognizing and measuring the physical changes to their body, such as increases in strength or improved stamina. The pride you feel at having achieved those changes through your own agency plays a large role in that confidence, too. However, while martial arts don’t necessarily have to be thought of as violent, the truth is that the new ability to defend yourself is a huge boost to confidence. Women, in particular, have noted a significant increase in feelings of security since they know that they are better able to handle any dangerous situations. That peace of mind can help you live your life a little more freely.
The benefits of martial arts and the difference they can offer to your life will differ from art to art. You might have an entirely different experience from learning wushu as you would from learning judo, for instance. However, that improvement to both mind and body is a trait that is near universal amongst them.