When you look at all the benefits of Martial Arts training, it is hard to find another activity that even comes close. While there are other fitness routines or hobbies that deliver some of the benefits, there isn’t one that delivers what the martial arts does – on top of providing skills that can save your life or the lives of your loved ones.
Unshakeable Self Confidence
The most powerful and life-changing benefit of the Martial Arts comes as a byproduct of the demanding physical training and learning to protect yourself – confidence. As you see and feel your body change, you feel better about yourself and how you look. Knowing that you can protect yourself and your loved ones gives you a sense of calm and power. When you feel better about yourself, you stand up a little straighter, smile a little more and are more relaxed. You handle the pressures of family and work better, have more energy to tackle daily challenges and have the feeling that no matter what happens, you can handle it.
Mental Toughness & Focus
Self-defense for adults builds focus. When you challenge yourself to do something you have never done before – and you do it – not only do you feel better about yourself but you develop mental toughness and focus.
This mental toughness is a form of courage; it is the ability to recognize and acknowledge the butterflies in your stomach when you are afraid of something, facing a challenge or doubting yourself – but getting yourself to act anyway. It is knowing you can handle anything that comes your way, no matter what.
When you are taking your martial arts class, your mind must be one hundred percent focused on the task at hand. Because of the physical and mental demands of this kind of training it is almost impossible to think about work, family or anything else. The more you train, the stronger your mental focus becomes, making it easier for you to get things done at work and at home.
Develop Rock-Hard Muscle Tone
When training, everything you do revolves around you using every ounce of your body weight to move and perform your techniques. This type of total body training is very similar to bodyweight calisthenics, which have been used for centuries by the military and athletes to get in supreme condition. Physical training that builds giant muscles that cramp up when you attempt to run across the parking lot doesn’t do you much good – although you may look great. Martial Arts training builds lean, functional muscle that is the perfect combination of strength, speed, size and endurance.
Develop Animal-Like Flexibility
There is an ancient saying about flexibility: “A tree that is unbending is easily broken.”
As adults get older, we begin to naturally lose flexibility. If we exercise over the years without working on flexibility of our muscles, tendons and ligaments shorten, causing tightness throughout the body. This can lead to problems with balance, range of motion in our joints, pain, lack of mobility and injuries. Unlike other fitness programs, Martial Arts develops your flexibility as you are training, instead of having separate movements specifically designed to increase your range of motion. Because self-defense training teaches you how to protect yourself in various situations using your entire body, your body learns to perform in all directions, on all planes of movement and through full ranges of motion. The more your train, the more fluid and smooth your movements become, like an animal in the wild. Strong, but relaxed and explosive.
Health Benefits – Improve Heart Health
When taught properly, self-defense instruction is physically challenging. The way you move when learning or practicing martial arts varies from style to style, but generally the type of exercise is almost identical to interval training. These short, intense bursts of movement and exertion, followed by periods of lower intensity performance are medically proven to be one of the fastest and most effective ways to increase your heart health.
Health Benefits – Lower Cholesterol
Martial Arts classes help lower your cholesterol in a couple ways. First, losing weight helps lower your bad (LDL) cholesterol levels by stimulating enzymes that move the LDL from your blood to your liver, where it is processed and removed from your system. Next, exercise increases the size of the protein particles that carry cholesterol in your blood, referred to as “lipoproteins”. The smaller lipoproteins are the ones that are bad for you as they can get lodged in the nooks and crannies of your cardiovascular system. Strenuous exercise helps increase the size profile of your blood lipids to the larger, healthier size.
Health Benefits – Lower Your Blood Pressure
Along with lowering your cholesterol, self-defense training helps lower your blood pressure, too. Your heart is a muscle and just like every other muscle in your body, the more you exercise it the stronger it becomes. The stronger your heart the more blood it can pump with less effort and less effort equals a lower blood pressure. For people who already have healthy blood pressure levels, Martial Arts lessons can help maintain your blood pressure levels as you age by keeping your weight in check and keeping your heart in tip-top shape.
Health Benefits – Regulate Glucose and Insulin Levels
Diabetes and other diseases are linked to levels of glucose, insulin and systemic inflammation.Insulin is a hormone that acts like a “key” that unlocks your cells and allows glucose (blood sugar) into your cells to be used for energy. Your body breaks down everything you eat and drink into glucose, then releases it into your system where it floats around, looking for cells that need energy. Insulin is created in your pancreas; when glucose is created by your system, your body tells your pancreas to secrete the correct amount of insulin to go with the glucose created. Problems start when your body either makes too much or not enough insulin to process your blood glucose. If left untreated, this can lead to type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Strenuous physical exercise helps insulin transport the blood glucose into your cells, regulating your insulin and blood sugar levels.
Health Benefits – Reduce Systemic Inflammation
Systemic inflammation has been linked to heart disease, cancer, diabetes, dementia and other age-related chronic conditions. Regular physical training releases anti-inflammatory substances that are naturally created by the body. Excess insulin and blood glucose is also inflammatory to the system, so the more you exercise and regulate your insulin and blood sugar levels, the lower your overall systemic inflammation.