Martial Arts for Fitness
It’s vital for adults to stay active as they age. After all, physical fitness can greatly improve one’s quality of life over time. Though, many adults worry about the risk of injury that exercise presents. While some activities train muscle groups on their own, it’s often safer to engage many of them together. That’s why adult martial arts classes are among the best ways to stay active. These are some of the biggest benefits of practicing martial arts for fitness.
1. Better Balance
Motor movements are complex. They involve the nervous, muscular, skeletal, and inner ear systems. Maintaining balance requires all of them to work well together. Sadly, many of these systems tend to weaken with age. In fact, researchers estimate that 1 in 3 older adults have inner ear dysfunction. This explains why up to 50% of adults over age 65 suffer from fall-related injuries every year.
Practicing activities like martial arts for fitness is a great way to work on your balance at any age. Various studies show that they can improve balance, decrease injuries, even reduce the number of falls in adults. That’s because adult martial arts classes engage all the complex systems that control motor skills. Plus, dojo floors are padded, so it’s a safe place to train while you find your feet.
2. More Flexibility
Traditional strength training is a targeted approach to fitness. It involves isolating certain muscle groups with precise exercises. While this tactic is great for building muscle, it rarely improves flexibility. Flexibility is important because it impacts posture, range of motion, and performance.
Martial arts like aikido focus on flexibility. Time is dedicated to stretching during every one of our adult martial arts classes. Studies suggest that regular stretching improves jump height, muscle contraction, and 50-yard dash time. It’s also beneficial for avoiding injuries, especially when included in a pre-workout warmup routine. This matters because skeletal muscle injuries affect a large number of athletes. More flexibility means responsive muscles, a greater range of motion, and better overall physical fitness.
3. Improved Coordination
Martial arts require focus and attention to master. Students don’t simply lift weights or hit targets. They engage their body’s full range of motion to develop control, endurance, and muscle memory. Because of this, martial artists are acutely aware of their own unique physical abilities.
Coordination is a blend of strength, balance, and flexibility. It combines action with perception, and is often felt rather than thought through. Top athletes are so attuned to their own bodies that they can react in a fraction of a second. This is the natural result of consistent practice and proper techniques, and the same is true of martial artists. In fact, research suggests that martial arts training can improve one’s reaction time. Also, children who practice martial arts tend to have better coordination skills than those who don’t.
4. Increased Core Strength
Physical exercise of any kind is a great way to strengthen muscles. However, some muscles are more critical for fitness than others. For instance, the body’s core controls most major movements involved in physical exercises. These spinal, pelvic, and abdominal muscles greatly affect one’s overall strength, agility, and stability. This is because all complex motor movements engage multiple muscle groups that stem from the core.
Practicing martial arts for fitness trains the core muscles directly. Students twist, flex, and extend their bodies with controlled techniques. Meanwhile, they maintain a grounded personal center as their main source of power. This allows them to leverage their core for greater athletic performance. In fact, one study showed that martial arts improved abdominal endurance, spinal flexibility, and explosive leg and arm power. A strong core will go a long way in improving physical fitness and reducing injury from exercise.
It’s well-known that a sedentary lifestyle is unhealthy. Physical exercise isn’t always fun or engaging, but martial arts safely bridge this gap. Our adult aikido classes in Lincoln, Nebraska are the perfect balance of challenge and thrill. We welcome you to join a free class to see if aikido can improve your strength, balance, and coordination. If you have questions or concerns, feel free to contact us for more details.
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Tuesday- 5:30 p.m - 8:45 p.m.
Wednesday- 6:30 p.m - 8:45 p.m.
Thursday- 5:30 p.m - 8:45 p.m.
Saturday- 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
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