Benefits for Adults
Martial arts training for adults is the only program that strengthens all aspects of your health and fitness, makes you mentally stronger and teaches you how to protect yourself and your loved ones – and it has been for thousands of years. It is the best-kept secret of total body functional fitness for adults in the world.
Self defense training is one of the best total body workouts on the planet. Most people start to feel the difference immediately and see physical changes in their bodies within weeks. What most people don’t realize (and can’t see) are the physiology improvements to their internal systems.
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 take action 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 has to 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 Animal-Like Flexibility
There is a saying in the martial arts 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 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.
Improving your balance happens when you practice going through the full planes of movement – forward, back, side-to-side and rotational. If you don’t practice working on your balance, it will deteriorate. As we age, becoming unsteady on our feet can lead to falls and serious injury – even death. Like we mentioned earlier in the section on flexibility, martial arts training constantly takes you through these planes as a byproduct of performing the techniques. More than one martial artist can tell you how training helped them prevent getting injured when they tripped or stumbled over something and was able to regain balance quickly before falling.
Another skill you learn is how to fall properly in the event you trip, are thrown or tackled. Learning how to fall correctly can be a life-saver and be the difference between simply getting up off the ground or suffering a serious injury.
Develop Strong Muscle Tones
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. Karate training builds lean, functional muscle that is the perfect combination of strength, speed, size and endurance.
Burn Body Fat
Getting rid of stubborn body fat is one of the biggest surprises people get when studying the martial arts. While the focus of training is NOT looking good in your skinny jeans or getting into those clothes that you used to wear when you were twenty pounds lighter, students discover that after a month or two of training, their bodies are changing.
According to medical studies published in the Journal of Obesity, the type of exercise done while training in the martial arts burns 36% more body fat then regular aerobic exercise. This training is the most effective method of burning subcutaneous fat (the cottage-cheese fat directly under your skin, like on your love handles, thigh or buttocks). It also stimulates the release of growth hormone, which helps to continue fat burning even after your training session.
Increase Your Metabolism
Another hidden benefit of martial arts training is the increase in your metabolism. When you are increasing your lean muscle mass, burning fat and building your endurance, you naturally rev up your metabolism. Students often report that they can eat as much or more than they used to eat in the past and still lose fat because their metabolisms are burning calories as fast as they consume them.
Karate 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.
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, karate 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.
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.
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.
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.
We mentioned earlier that self defense training is intense, very similar to interval training. One of the things that is unique to martial arts is that you get this sort of intense, interval-like training – for thirty to sixty minutes per session. This supercharges your fitness levels as not only to do you condition your short-term performance levels, but you greatly increase your endurance, too. Your body has to adapt to short, intense periods of exercise with brief periods of lower intensity, but done over a long period of time.
With your increased endurance comes the ability to stay focused longer, have steady energy throughout your day and no more of those afternoon energy crashes or feelings of exhaustion at the end of a busy day.
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 have the ability to 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.
The Ultimate Self Development Program For Adults
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.
If you are ready to see what martial arts lessons can do for you, schedule a free introductory class.