The health benefits of martial arts training are well known but there’s always more to learn about how studying the martial arts can improve your health.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and around the world. For that reason, it’s important to engage in regular physical activity to improve cardiovascular health. The great news is that you can strengthen your heart with martial arts training. Here’s what you need to know.
How Does Martial Arts Training Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease?
You probably already know that regular exercise can strengthen your heart. What you may not know is that martial arts workouts incorporate three essential types of exercise to improve heart health.
According to Johns Hopkins, there are three key forms of exercise that we all need for heart health.
Aerobic exercise is activity that gets your heart pumping and increases your respiratory rate. It’s essential for your heart because it improves circulation. If you have high blood pressure, martial arts training can lower your blood pressure and protect your heart. Martial arts workouts provide aerobic exercise as students execute kicks and punches to perfect their form. Ideally, you should get 30 minutes of aerobic exercise five times a week.
The next type of exercise that your heart needs to be healthy is resistance training. Resistance training may include weightlifting, the use of resistance bands, or you can even use your body weight as resistance. That last option is something that applies to martial arts training.
If you want to increase your good cholesterol, martial arts resistance training is ideal. While aerobic exercise is necessary to raise the heart rate, resistance training helps to change your body composition by increasing lean muscle.
Balance and Flexibility Training
Martial arts classes can protect your heart with aerobic and resistance training, but there’s a third element of fitness that adds to the cardiac benefits of martial arts training. Because martial arts classes help to strengthen core muscles, they improve both balance and flexibility.
Balance and flexibility help to protect the body against injuries, making it less likely that you’ll get hurt and be unable to take part in a high-intensity martial arts workout. You can’t raise your heart rate if you lack the flexibility to use your joints and muscles.
Additional Cardiac Benefits of Martial Arts Training
You already know that martial arts training helps reduce your risk of heart disease, but there are other ways to strengthen your heart with martial arts training.
First, martial arts workouts help your heart work efficiently. Even when you’re not on the mat, the martial arts lower blood pressure and ensure that your heart doesn’t need to work too hard when you’re at rest.
Second, martial arts workouts help to lower cholesterol and that can reduce the risk of plaque building up in your arteries and impeding the flow of blood. Plaque build-up can lead to hardening of the arteries and is a contributing factor in heart disease.
Third, in addition to physical exertion, mental stillness is a result of participating in the martial arts. While a workout may raise your heart rate, it decreases your stress levels. Stress is a contributing factor in things like heart attacks and strokes.
Fourth, martial arts workouts can help you lose weight. Excess fat is a leading contributor to heart disease and losing weight can help you to reduce your risk.
Taking martial arts classes is a great way to strengthen your heart, reduce high blood pressure, and reduce your risk of heart disease. In fact, the cardiac benefits of martial arts training are undeniable — so why not give your heart the gift of signing up for a martial arts class?