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Unlocking the Hidden Perks: Five Unexpected Benefits of Martial Arts Training for Your General Fitness and How to Incorporate It into Your Fitness Regime by Matt Payne Myokinetics Chester Coach

This weeks blog has been written by Matt Payne, Myokinetics Martial Arts and HIIT coach. What he doesn’t know about martial arts is not worth knowing! So let’s dive in and see what his thoughts are on some of the advantages of Martial Arts training to your fitness.

A fighter in silhouette
A fighter in his prime. Photo by Jeka Demidov on Unsplash

Introduction: it was never broken in the first place

In the world of fitness, it's easy to get caught up in the latest trends and fads. However, sometimes the most effective and fulfilling workouts are those that have stood the test of time. Martial arts training is one such discipline that not only enhances your self-defence skills but also offers a myriad of unexpected benefits for your general fitness. In this blog post, we will delve into five surprising advantages of incorporating martial arts into your fitness routine and provide guidance on seamlessly blending it into your overall regimen.

1. Improved Cardiovascular Health:

Cardiovascular fitness is a cornerstone of overall well-being, and martial arts provide an excellent way to boost your heart health. Engaging in martial arts involves dynamic movements, constant footwork, and rapid changes in direction, all of which elevate your heart rate. This sustained cardiovascular activity not only burns calories but also strengthens your heart and lungs, enhancing your endurance over time.

Incorporation Tip: Integrate martial arts training sessions with HIIT-style bag work in your weekly routine to replace traditional cardio workouts. Activities like boxing, kickboxing, Muay Thai, or Karate are excellent choices for a heart-pumping workout – kick and punch the bag non-stop for 60s, rest for 60s rinse and repeat 5 times and you’ll have worked up a lather in no time, well 10 minutes actually. Adjust times and repetitions according to your ability!

2. Enhanced Flexibility and Balance:

Martial arts often require a wide range of motion and the ability to maintain balance in various stances. Regular practice can significantly improve your flexibility and balance, reducing the risk of injuries in everyday activities. The emphasis on kicking, striking, and defensive manoeuvrers engages different muscle groups, promoting overall flexibility and coordination.

Incorporation Tip: Include martial arts-inspired stretches and poses in your warm-up and cool-down routines. This can be as simple as incorporating yoga poses or specific martial arts stretches into your existing flexibility regimen. Alternatively to ramp up your balance and co-ordination practise suuuuuuper-sloooooow kicking drills in the air. Slowing down the execution of kicking techniques requires the use of muscles, some of which you may not have realised you had… and turbo-charges the development of balance and co-ordination, skills that ultimately translate to improved functional fitness.

3. Stress Relief and Mental Well-being:

Beyond the physical benefits, martial arts provide a unique outlet for stress relief and mental well-being. The focus required during training helps clear the mind, promoting mindfulness and reducing stress levels. Additionally, the discipline instilled in martial arts cultivates mental toughness, resilience, and a positive mindset.

Incorporation Tip: Dedicate specific sessions to martial arts practice when you need a mental break or stress relief. Learn and then rehearse a few ‘forms’ or ‘kata’ (these are predefined sequence of movements designed to allow a practitioner to practise the execution of martial arts movements and combinations), is a quick and easy way to to do this and can be done on your own. Focus on feeling your body moving through the poses and repeat the drill for as long as it takes to immerse yourself in the flow of movement. Alternatively consider joining a martial arts class or incorporating mindfulness exercises during your training to maximize the mental health benefits.

4. Full-Body Strength Training:

Martial arts involve a variety of movements that engage multiple muscle groups simultaneously. Whether you're throwing a punch, executing a kick, or performing a grappling manoeuver, your entire body is put to work. This comprehensive engagement leads to improved overall strength, toning muscles you may not typically target in conventional workouts.

Incorporation Tip: Rotate martial arts workouts with traditional strength training sessions to ensure a balanced approach. This combination will enhance your overall muscular endurance and strength.

5. Social Connection and Community: try a martial arts class in Chester

Martial arts training often takes place in a communal setting, fostering a sense of camaraderie and support. Building connections with like-minded individuals can contribute to increased motivation and accountability in your fitness journey. The social aspect of martial arts training adds an enjoyable dimension to your overall well-being.

Incorporation Tip: Join a local martial arts class or club to experience the community first-hand. Participating in group sessions can provide motivation, encouragement, and a sense of belonging and provide an additional goal for your more traditional fitness work – the one should benefit the other in a virtuous circle, synergistically improving the benefits derived by each.

Conclusion: a change is as good as a rest, why not give it a go?

Incorporating martial arts into your fitness regime offers a holistic approach to well-being, combining physical, mental, and social benefits. By embracing the unexpected advantages of martial arts training, you can transform your fitness routine and embark on a journey of self-discovery and improvement. Whether you're a seasoned fitness enthusiast or a newcomer to the world of exercise, martial arts might just be the missing element in your quest for a healthier, more fulfilling lifestyle.

If you fancy incorporating martial arts training into your regular fitness regime, you're based in the Chester area, but aren't sure where to start, give Matt a shout out via our enquiries form here, he'll be able to send you in the right direction whether you want 1-2-1 martial arts instruction or prefer a regular structured class.

Disclaimer please note well: The information provided on this health and well-being blog is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as professional medical advice. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, treatment, or guidance. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it because of something you have read on this blog. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or the emergency services immediately.

The authors of this blog are not medical professionals, and the content provided here is based on personal experiences, research, and general knowledge. It is important to consult with a qualified healthcare professional for individual health concerns. The use of any information provided on this blog is solely at your own risk. The authors, contributors, and the website owner disclaim any responsibility for any adverse effects resulting directly or indirectly from the information provided.

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